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
Things That Go Bump in the House

You could call him the house-wight. I first encountered him directly in a dream last year. (And yes, he's a he, whatever that means.)

That's how I learned his name. His name says a lot about him (and, probably, something about me, as well). When you know someone's name, it's a bond. Whether you will or whether you won't, it makes a relationship which, like all such, needs ongoing maintenance.

These last few days, I've been hearing things fall in the house. I get up, I go look: nothing. It isn't Craig: he's not here. It isn't the cat: he's asleep on the bed. Yes, the house vibrates when buses hit big potholes on Lake Street, but it's not pothole season yet. (Ah, the joys of urban spring.) Yes, the house ticks and pops when the temperature falls below zero. But those sounds I know, and this isn't them. Ice falling from the eaves? No, these are indoor clatters, I'm sure of it. I'm hearing things fall in rooms where nothing seems to be falling. If we call it the house-wight, that makes as much sense as anything.

A little guy with a beard and shining eyes? Shadows sliding in the far corners of vision? My human mind connecting up stray incidents into patterns that don't exist? A subtle way of externalizing my mental and emotional relationship with my environment? All of the above?

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  • T-Roy
    T-Roy says #
    Some of them prefer oatmeal with a pat of butter.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Ah, yes: it makes sense that the preferred offering would vary from wight to wight. (We have our preferences, why wouldn't they?)
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Well, of *course* you didn't give away his name. (He would have given you a lot of trouble for doing that.)

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Paganism and Problem Solving

I’m absolutely thrilled to be writing for PaganSquare. My blog here will focus on topics of leadership, community building, and facilitation skills for classes, rituals, and meetings, as well as the personal and spiritual growth work beneath all those skills and tools. My goal is to help more people become the leaders and community builders who can help foster more sustainable groups.

Why do I write about these topics? Once upon a time I realized that I wasn’t a very good leader. I enjoyed the energy of being with a group but when things fell apart, I was intensely frustrated. Since I like organizing events and big projects, I figured I should learn the skills and tools to do that well. I didn’t plan on teaching leadership, but after I began training in the Diana’s Grove leadership and ritual arts program, I noticed how few groups seemed to have access to those tools. I started teaching at local Pagan events, and then at festivals, and then I started writing.

When I went through a painful blow-up of a Pagan group, that further inspired me to teach tools that will hopefully help others from having to go through the same thing I did. When I travel and teach leadership, I hear from so many people who have faced problems in their groups. I want to help people to build stronger communities.

It’s true that these can often be uncomfortable topics, but I feel they are crucial to explore in order to build healthier communities. There are a lot of ways that we can work together to build the kind of magical and spiritually fulfilling groups that will serve us and empower us.

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  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Rick, you're very right about that. Volunteer management is absolutely different. I can certainly do a post about that, though I k
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    One of the topics I might suggest is the art of managing volunteers. It is so much different from managing people you are paying!
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Thanks! I've been writing on topics of Pagan leadership and community building for a while, and I hope that these articles offer s
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    So looking forward to more. The problem in our area is relationships between the groups. It has caused a lot of people to go sol
  • Sheilia Canada
    Sheilia Canada says #
    What a great article. I look forward to learning more leadership skills & suggestions. I run an open Pagan Community group & hav

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
White Snow, Black Branch, Red Bird

Sunday morning, February 15th, 6:55 a. m. I've just heard a sound I haven't heard since before Samhain. That's why I'm wearing this silly (my father would say “shit-eating”) grin.

Birdsong.

Here in southern Minnesota we're back in deep freeze. After an all-too-brief Bridey's Spring, the interstellar cold has returned, deep space cold, the cold between the stars. In a landscape drained of color and sound, Winter reigns Interminable.

Then suddenly a red bird sings outside the window, and spring seems possible.

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  • Anne Forrester
    Anne Forrester says #
    Gods, did this make me happy. What Cheer! What Cheer!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Witch Who Decided to Leave the Craft

There was once a young witch who fell in love with a cowan, and they decided to marry.

Now, in those days people felt strongly that if you married out, you had to leave the Craft. But there you were, it was love and no price seemed too high. The date was set, the banns were read. On the chosen day, the church filled up with people and the witch and her intended stood before the altar.

But just as the priest is about to pronounce them man and wife, crash! the door flies open and a broom comes sailing in. First it knocks the old priest over the head, then it chases the boy out of the building, and next thing you know, there it is again, back for more. Everyone was terrified, and they all got out of there as fast as they could.

So they picked another date, and the banns were read for a second time. The church fills up with even more people, come to see the fun, and the service begins. But this time, just before they start, they lock the door.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Kiss of the Green Man

“What do you know about the Green Man?”

Jim isn't pagan, but his husband, who is, told him that I was the one to talk to. In my pagan arrogance, I could understand why he would be interested in the Green Man. What I couldn't understand was why he should be so interested.

I rattled on for a while about late Roman Bacchic motifs and medieval sculpture, clearly missing the point entirely. Finally I trailed off and asked the question I should have asked first.

“Why do you ask?” I asked him. Thank Goddess.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
My Funny Valentine

I realize that many folks feel jaded about Valentine's Day. They see only the commercialized over-production number of it, and forget all about Lupercalia and the mating season for wolves. Perhaps simply because of those latter two facts, I do appreciate the day. It wasn't literally invented by Hallmark in the 20th Century, like Sweetest Day, for Goddess' sake. It can in fact be old-fashioned and sweet – if you enjoy it on your own terms. Please don't let anyone pressure you into dragging your honey to "Fifty Shades of Vanilla," or to blow hundreds at a 10-course meal at the trendiest restaurant, simply because it's the thing to do. In fact, why not do something totally unconventional:

Why not host an old-fashioned Valentine's Day party? You could send out the cute invites to people you'd like to join you – like the ones you exchanged in elementary school. Build some anticipation and surprise about the event. Don't create a page on Facebook. Do it old-school. Don't let anyone know who else will be there ahead of time.

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If You Kill Someone in a Dream, Does That Make You a Murderer?

If you break a taboo in a dream, does it count?

What the dream itself was about, I don't even remember. What I do recall is that as I turned to leave, and was going out through the door, I stepped directly onto the threshold.

Thresholds, like hearths, are loci of sanctity. The threshold of every building is inherently sacred, even the thresholds of non-sacred buildings like stores. In the old days, they would bury the foundation offerings beneath them, and in traditional cultures they continue to be places of sacrifice. A threshold is a god's place. They say that the Horned, god of the In-Between, sits on every threshold; it is his sacred place in every building, large or small, sacred or secular. Whenever you enter or leave a building, it's an encounter with a god. Welcome to the pagan universe.

So it's bad to step on a threshold. (One steps over a threshold, not on it.) Not bad as in murdering someone, but bad as in pissing toward the Sun; it's rude, a ritual violation that puts you out of synch with the Powers. It's important to be in synch with the Powers; our people have always felt so.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    I sometimes get the clear impression that a dream infraction is a suppressed guilt from another life, or from an earlier time in t

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