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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
Maypole or Bonfire?

The Maypole and the Bonfire have long been the two ritual foci of Beltane celebration.

The logistical problem being that a ritual can't have two centers.

I remember running into this difficulty decades back while planning the community Beltane down at the old River Circle by the Mississippi. We wanted both a Maypole and a Bonfire, but (unless you want to burn the Maypole, which is wrong) they're mutually exclusive options and only one of them can be in the middle of the circle.

In the end we settled for a central bonfire with the Maypole off to the side of the circle. After the Maypole dance, as darkness drew in, people (of course) clustered around the Bonfire, leaving the poor Maypole deserted.

I.e. not really a satisfactory solution.

Historically speaking, the Maypole is a relative newcomer to the Beltane celebrations (there's no documentary evidence for it until the early modern period), while the Mayfire is clearly prehistoric (the name Beltane itself originally meant “bright fire”).

But the tension between Fire and Tree is more apparent than real. Our problem is trying to cram both hands into the same catskin glove.

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  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    Maddeningly, Ronald Hutton in Stations of the Sun (p. 233) doesn't give the title of the poem or the quote, only the author; Adda
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I'm intrigued, Jon: which poem is that? Clearly time to to brush up my Middle English. So: we find Maypoles in England. We find Ma
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    And just as an aside, written evidence for the Maypole goes back to the 14th century. As it's entirely unlikely it was invented co
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    Actually, we call that Sumarmál. :-) And you're entirely correct; modern society and its artificial cycles of weekday-weekend is
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    A bat needs two wings to fly. Bwa ha ha.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
I Love the Doorposts of Your House

You're entering a sacred place. What do you do?

You can't just saunter in, doing nothing, as if it were (say) some big box store. It's a sacred place; going in means something.

So what do you do?

Some reach down and touch the ground. (If you're reading this, I probably don't need to tell you why you would do this.) In practice, this often means that you touch the threshold of the temple.

What comes next is up to you. Some people touch their hearts, some (with a kiss) their lips. Some touch their brows. I usually touch all three: In my heart, on my lips, in my thoughts.

Or some variation thereof. The deeply pious may bow down and kiss the Earth. Those of us who aren't as spry as we used to be may settle for kissing the doorposts of the temple. (I love the doorposts of your house, goes the old song.)

So much for entering. How do you leave a sacred place?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

[Today, we sit down for a quick interview with Jenn Campus. Along with her husband, illustrator Roberto Campus, Jenn has launched a kickstarter to fund the creation of Dreams of Ýdalir. Described as "Norse Mythology meets The Mists of Avalon," the novel centers on Ullr and Elen of the Ways. If you are inspired by what you read here, please look over their kickstarter page and consider funding Dreams of Ýdalir.]

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Rebecca, thanks for supporting Jenn and Roberto's project. They are personal friends of mine, so I can say with confidence they ar
  • Jenn
    Jenn says #
    Thank you so much for your un-ending support, Francesca!
  • Jenn
    Jenn says #
    Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk to you about the project!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Old Lady Hawthorn

Damn that old lady Hawthorn.

There she goes, knocking my hat off.

Again.

I don't know how old she is. Being a Siberian hawthorn, it could be hundreds of years. Judging by how gnarled and ornery she is, I'd say probably pretty old. Older than me, anyway.

And did I say attitudinous? Old lady Hawthorn is the undisputed ruler of this lawn, and you'd better not forget it.

Before you mow, you'd better tip your hat to her. You'd just better. Likes that, she does.

Otherwise, she'll knock it clean off your head.

Like she just did.

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Symbolism in the Hierophant Tarot Card

The Hierophant is usually deemed Trump 5 in the Tarot. Hierophant means revealer of sacred things. While The Emperor is earthly, secular and governmental authority, The Hierophant is religious, spiritual and sacred authority. This archetype embodies cultural traditions, moral dictates, religious teachings, orthodoxy and philosophical or ethical mandates.

Phrases and Keywords: Tradition; Exoteric Religion; Formal Education; Religious Authority; Right and Wrong Wrangling; Dogma; Ethical Standards; Social Mores; Morality; Philosophy; Doctrine; Canon; Spiritual Beliefs; Revered Teachings; “Shoulds”; Orthodoxy

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_bee_on_flower_20170424-212252_1.jpgThe news these days can be depressing and even horrifying — bombs, environmental disasters, corruption, extraordinary cruelty, sheer stupidity, and blind greed. There’s no doubt that we are in the throes of major changes in our civilization, and as a whole, we seem to be having some difficulty handling our most pressing problems. If we’re going to be part of the solution, it’s important to remember and acknowledge our accomplishments and honor the gifts that life offers.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Little Samhain in Every Bealtaine

Posch, you pervert.

May Eve is days away, and you're writing about Samhain?

What are you trying to do, wreck us?

Au contraire. (And let me point out that our Southside friends and family are preparing for Samhain as I write this).

It's just that this new (to me) idea is so elegant, so true, that it simply won't wait.

I'm just now back from a warlocks' work weekend at Witch Country's Sweetwood sanctuary. We're building a shrine there in the woods below the circle.

This time around we began site preparation, and removed the standing stone that will be the centerpiece of the shrine, from its immemorial bed in the coulee (ravine) wall. The Bull Stone has now begun its long journey across the coulee and up the side of the hill.

But that's another story for another day. (Stay tuned.) In the process, we chopped down a number of young trees, both to clear the site and to provide us with rails and rollers.

You can't move a 1000-pound stone through the forest without doing some damage. Iacchus, Sweetwood's priest-in-residence and caretaker, remarked offhandedly that it's the custom there to offer at Samhain on behalf of all the lives that one has taken during the course of the year.

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