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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
A Powerful Plant Ally in Stressful Times

Lavender is a beloved garden plant that is widely known for calming nerves, balancing emotions, and fostering a sense of peace. The scent of this plant aids in getting restful sleep, which is especially important during stressful times. Lavender essential oil is the easiest way to use this plant.

 

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McConnell Spearheads Vote to Send Covid-Impregnated PPEs to Blue States

AP: Washington, DC

Along strict party lines, the Republican-dominated US Senate voted Friday to allocate $5 billion to send masks and gloves impregnated with Covid-19 virus to all Blue States.

The controversial initiative, spearheaded by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R KY), was lambasted by some as a blatant attempt to suppress Democratic turnout in this fall's upcoming presidential election.

McConnell denied such claims, while admitting that the action could have that effect. “We're only trying to level the playing field,” he told reporters. “With so many Red States deciding to prematurely lift anti-Covid stay-at-home orders, the effect on mindless idio—I mean, staunchly Republican voters—is virtually guaranteed to be devastating.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D CA) called the Senate's actions “cynical" and "disgraceful.”

Citing the recent decision of Wisconsin's Supreme Court—dominated by Republican-appointed judges—to force a Democratic primary election with the clear intent to endanger Left-leaning voters, McConnell retorted, “There's ample precedent for this kind of action in American history.”

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks and good strength to you in your work, Anthony. And let us all say: So mote it be!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    From Jan. 24, 2020 until March 2, 2020 I did a 40 day prayer ritual asking that my fellow citizens embrace their civil rights and

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Beltane: Light My Fire

May 1st is always known as the lustiest of the cross-quarter Sabbats: exciting and full of possibilities. I will always remember the very first Beltane ritual circle that I participated in, many moons ago. my whole body was humming. I felt electric and trembling with excitement, realizing how powerful and deep this magical life could be. It was on that night that I decided to follow a Pagan and Eclectic Wiccan path. It resonated with me completely on every level, especially after being on a personal spiritual quest for the year or two prior. This Beltane make a point to rekindle and stoke that fire with you and your romantic partner. Fires always require a little TLC, but the end results are always so worth it.

Set the Stage

First, think about setting the stage. I have some good notions for starting this special day out just right. This would include the baking of some homemade Beltane scones for breakfast and getting your kitchen smelling heavenly. A clean living space is definitely a sexier one, so be sure to take care of that, too. Another task that would surely lift your spirits, is crafting a May Day basket for your significant other, or someone you know who would really appreciate it. A neighbor on their own during quarantine would probably love to receive a surprise gift like this on their front porch.

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A Sprinkling for the May Queen: Nine Songs That It Wouldn't Be Beltane Without

Lady be praised for Beltane: after Yule, the singing-est of holidays. Winter's finally over: the spring peepers are singing, the birds are singing, and so are we.

Forthwith, nine songs that it wouldn't be Beltane without. Really, we all should know them all.

 

Hal an Tow

If Beltane has an anthem, Hal an Tow is it. This English folk classic—Shakespeare even cites it—has a million different covers, but the hottest, sexiest, rocking-est of them all has got to be the Oyster Band version.

As for the title: yes, haul means “Sun” in Welsh, but there's no need to go looking that far. “Heel and toe”: it's a dance song.

So get up and dance, already.

Padstow Morning Song

Also known as Unite and Unite and The Merry Morning of May, this carol from the Cornish village of Padstow is yet another indispensable May folk classic, with some surprising depths: it's one of the few May songs to treat—inter alia—with war and death.

It's Beltane and we should all be out in the woods, making merry together. But some of our boys (and—these days—girls) are off fighting someone else's wars.

O where are those young men that now here should dance

(for Summer is a-come unto day)?

O some, they are in England, and some, they are in France,

in the merry morning of May. 

Ever since the beginning of Bush 2's ill-considered Endless War in the Middle East, here in Paganistan we've been singing:

O some are in Afghanistan, and some are in Iraq,

in the merry morning of May.

But doubt not the power of May. The Hobby Horse rises again, and our brave boys (and girls) will come back home, hale and whole.

And let us all say: so mote it be.

Sumer Is Icumen In

Forget the embarrassingly bad update version from Wicker Man: Sumer Is Icumen In is the oldest (circa 1350) song in English to which we have both words and tune, and limns the beauties of Spring incomparably. Really, there's no need for updates: the 700-year old Middle English still reads (and sings) refreshingly comprehensibly.

I'd never understood just what a he-goat farting had to do with Spring, until an uncle of mine who hunts explained it to me. After a winter diet of bark and dried grass, the deer gorge on fresh greens and they all get diarrhea: a sure sign of Spring.

Oh, those earthy ancestors.

Bird in the Bush

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    You wouldn't just happen to have a playlist of these songs up on YouTube would you?
Enchanted Grove: Magical Property of Fruit Trees

While we often think of herbs and flowers as having special properties, it is much less commonly known that fruits also contain much magic you must try for yourself:

Apple

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I planted three fruit trees last year. The Pawpaw and the Persimmon are both leafing out nicely. I think the Pomegranate is stil
The Cartoon That I'd Draw, If I Could Draw

Jainism is India's religion of ahimsa (non-harming) par excellence; in fact, it's probably from Jain (that's Jine, not Jane) practice that both Hinduism and Buddhism got their commitment to non-violence and vegetarianism. Jainism is so committed to non-harm that, as with Catharism, it's considered meritorious to starve oneself to death, since to eat necessarily deprives others of life.

(Known as sallekhana, this would seem a pretty harmful act to me—self-harming is still harm, yes?—but, hey, I'm no Jain. In my opinion, the Dharmic religions parted company from their natal paganisms when they became world-denying.)

So deeply rooted is Jain reverence for the sanctity of non-human life that some Jain monks wear face masks constantly, even when they're not wearing anything else (and Jainism is also where Wicca got the term skyclad from), lest they inadvertently inhale some flying insect and so take life.

All this by way of prelude. So, in this Covid-19 Era—you can see where this is going—here's the cartoon that I would draw, if I could draw.

Gods, I love high-context humor.

 

Street scene, with wall-posters detailing covid protocols, and people wearing facial masks.

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Witch Craft: Sun Infused-Flower Essences

For centuries, flower essences have been used to heal many infirmities (see list below).  While the health food shop versions are handy, they are also very spendy. You can make your own flower essences at home. Start by making a mother tincture– the most concentrated form of the essence – which can then be used to make stock bottles. The stock bottles are used to make dosage bottles for the most diluted form of the essence, which is the one you actually take.

What you will need to make a sun-infused essence:

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