Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
'Flower of Trees': An Ostara Song by J. R. R. Tolkien (Well, Kind Of)

Well, you gotta love word geekery.

As a college student learning Gothic, the now-extinct language that is the oldest Germanic language for which we have any substantial documentation, the teen-aged J. R. R. Tolkien—himself an good Hwiccan lad—was not content simply to learn the language.

Of course not. Tolkien being Tolkien, he composed poetry in Gothic as well, using (of course) the old Germanic four-beat alliterative line.

Bagmê Blôma, “flower of trees” (this would be “Beams' Bloom” if we were translating into English cognates) is Tolkien's hymn to the “mistress of the mountain,” Lady Birch, the very arboreal embodiment of Spring.

Scroll forward some years. Linguist and Tolkienist Eric Kinsepp translates Tolkien's Gothic into Modern English, thus giving us words singable to a tune by 20th century English composer George Mantle Childe.

And lo: the witches sing this song at Ostara to this very day.

Sometimes even in Gothic.

Flower of Trees

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Stupid Question, Stupid Answer

“What part of their bodies do men dry off first when they get out of the shower?”

“Hunh?” I reply inelegantly, thoroughly lost.

My friend explains.

“We noticed in the bathhouse this morning that when a woman gets out of the shower, the first thing she dries off is her face, so I was wondering about men.”

The observation is an interesting one, certainly. I'm embarrassed to admit that I'd never really thought about it before, but when you're wet all over, of course you dry your face first. Just what this may say about our species, I'll leave you to suss out for yourself.

But the act of “othering” inherent in her question annoyed me, not to mention the sexism. I figured that a stupid question deserves a stupid answer.

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    lol I thought I dried my face first because I wear glasses and I want to put them on right away. I didn't know people who don't we
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I dry off my hair first so the water doesn't run into my face.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Wolf Oracle: Be Brave (Aquarius Moon)

Here on the 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: Courage
Meaning: Be brave and strong for you have a task to do.
Reversed: There is a con artist close by so be cautious.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Rethinking the Ostara Hare

 I shall go into a hare, with sorrow and sighing and mickle care,

and I shall go in the Devil's name; aye, till I come home again.

(Isobel Gowdie)

 

The first theological argument that I can remember getting into had to do with which was better, Santa or the Bunny.

Everybody else liked Santa best, but I held out for the Bunny.

Santa just brings you clothes and underwear and stuff that they think you want or that they want you to want, but that you don't really want at all.

But the Bunny not only brings you bad stuff.

He makes you work for it.

 

Once the chocolate eggs are eaten up and the baskets put away, we tend to forget about the Ostara Hare.

We shouldn't.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    There didn't USED to be any rabbits in Australia, but somebody thought it would be a good idea to import them. That didn't work o
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Are you familiar with the 1978 film version of Watership Down? The rabbits have their own cultural myths; the creation myth tells

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Three Crows Eating Pizza

Over at the Minoan language blog they've been posting non-traditional, bilingual haiku lately. Thought I might as well get in on the act.

And yes, I actually did see this the other day.

 

Three crows eating pizza

by the side of the road.

Winter in the city.

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  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Yup.
Raven Oracle: Guided By Magick (Capricorn Moon)

Here on the 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!

Raven Keyword: Wise
Meaning: Although saddened by the times your will is true and guided by magick.
Reversed: A dark omen portends gloom, so stay inside.

...
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Is a 3000-Year Old Swedish Petroglyph the Oldest Known Depiction of Thor?

Is a 3000-year old Swedish petroglyph the oldest known depiction of Thor?

Here's what Swedish science journalist Karin Bojs (sounds like “Boyce”) suggests in her highly engaging genetic study of Europe, My European Family: The First 54,000 Years:

The Vitlycke rock engraving includes a man driving...a two-wheeled chariot, clearly drawn by a horse. The man holds the horse's reins in one hand and a hammer in the other. Before him, a flash of lightning can be seen. The most likely interpretation is that the man is a thunder god—the Bronze Age counterpart of the god later known to the Vikings as Thor. The thunder god's attribute was an axe or a hammer, with which he would strike to produce thunder and lightning (296-7).

Is she right?

Well, the time and the place are right. The Vitlycke charioteer is one of tens of thousands of petroglyphs located on rock faces near Tanum, Sweden. Petroglyphs are notoriously difficult to date, but experts are agreed that these petroglyphs date mostly from the Scandinavian Bronze Age. We know that Scandinavia was populated by Indo-European speakers during this period, and that these petroglyphs are therefore a product of an Indo-European culture. The pantheons of virtually all IE cultures feature a divine Thunderer, often conceived of as a warrior, armed and riding in a two-wheeled chariot.

Take a close look at the petroglyph shown above. A horned man with a noteworthy ithyphallus drives what would appear to be a highly schematic chariot drawn by (apparently) a horned animal. If so, with apologies to Bojs, this is no horse, but would only strengthen the image's likely identity as a sort of proto-Thor, since Thor's chariot was said to be drawn by goats, and historically the goat is associated with the Thunderer across the Indo-European diaspora. At very least, one can say that, if this chariot is indeed drawn by a horned animal (instead of a horse with unusually elongated ears, say), we are likely in the realm of myth here. No one, after all, hitches an ox to a chariot.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It does look like a snake, I agree, which made me think of sperm cells with their little wiggly tails. I suppose we'll never know
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Cool, I was an Art History Major back in the 80's.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    I agree that the animal looks more like a goat, and that the hands look like they are depicted with fingers, although the vajra al
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    The head reminds me of another storm god: Set. I think I've seen depictions of both Teshub the Hittite storm god and Baal Hadad t
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Oof, that really does look like the Seth animal. Well, I wouldn't want to try to make a historical case for a connection, but it d

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