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
Oh Hell

Oh, go to Heaven!”

(Witch Hazel [Mama Cass Elliot], Pufnstuf)

It is an altogether remarkable fact that the language of Christianity should so faithfully have preserved the name of the ancient Indo-European Underworld, and (just possibly) of its goddess.

Hell.

Both Old English hell and its Norse cognate hel derive from Common Germanic *haljô. This in turn comes from a verbal root meaning “cover, conceal.” (The same root gives us hall, hull, hold, helmet, and Valhalla.) Apparently Hell has been the “concealed [place]” for a long, long time: when Ulifilas translated the Bible into Gothic, he used the word halja to translate Greek Hades and Hebrew She'ol.

Like its Greek counterpart Hades, the Old Norse name does double duty, naming both the Underworld and its mistress, the goddess of death. Whether this was also the case among speakers of Old English, we do not know. It's certainly possible: the Old English noun is feminine in gender. It must be admitted, though, that the Hel of Norse literature has a pronouncedly “literary” feel to her; she strikes one as more a personification than as an actual personality.

So we can say for sure that the Hwicce, the Old English Tribe of Witches, knew of Hell as the Underworld. Whether they also knew of Hell as Lady of the Underworld we simply do not know.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Power Outage Full Moon Ritual

I’m lying in bed with my lover when the power goes out. The only light in the room is now coming from the moon’s reflection on the snow outside the glass doors. We look at each other, wondering if we caused the outage. We were running a lot of appliances in our room here at Yosemite Falls lodge, we may have blown a fuse.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Shyest Wind

East Wind blowing today. Expect change soon.

The Winds don't figure much in modern pagan thought or experience, but the ancestors saw it differently.

Born of Earth's dance, the winged Winds, swiftest of gods, are the invisible messengers of the gods, with much to impart to those willing to pay attention.

Here on the edge of the Great Western Prairie, there's nearly always a wind blowing. Around here, stillness is temporary.

It's West Wind who does most of the talking hereabouts. He's a garrulous fellow. West Wind brings us most of our weather and almost all of our rain. If you want to know what the future will bring, look to the West.

We hear a lot from North Wind too, sometimes too much. North Wind means winter, cold and snow. When he and West Wind team up, look out. Better keep that snow shovel handy.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bloodstone

It's 1966. A little tow-headed boy is sitting cross-legged on the living room floor, reading the Sunday supplement of the Pittsburgh Press.

He doesn't know that his life is about to change forever.

There are real witches! There are real witches right here in Pittsburgh! Real witches doing real magic!

One detail from the article hit hard enough to stay with me 50-some years later.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

While I identify as Pagan, and more specifically as Hellenistai, I also fall into the category generally defined as "devotional polytheist." For me, the Gods are at the center of my spiritual practice. I write poetry and short stories and essays in their honor, meditate and go on trance journeys, and endlessly discuss their natures and myths and influence upon the world. As such, theophanies -- manifestations of the Gods, personal encounters with them -- are of particular interest to me. I love to read of others' encounters with Gods and Goddesses and spirits of all sorts, from every tradition, new and old.

Additionally, not all theophanies are ... well ... I have found some passages in works of fiction to be as profoundly moving and insightful as any (nonfiction) work. It leads me to wonder if the authors have either coded their true encounters, changing bits here and there to include them in novels and short stories; or if the authors have some intuitive understanding of the Gods and spirits and the world beyond the mundane.

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Full in Scorpio: Moon of Flowering Branches

 

As the Sun transits from Aries into Taurus, we shift from I am into I have. The Spring is unfolding, and we are moving from an inquiry into who we are, into our identity, to an inquiry about what we have, what we need, our resources. Aries' Fire, kicking off the zodiacal year with its urgency, its confidence and its drive to move forward, has ignited us, given energy to our goals, our desires, and our passions. Now that initiating Fire has to transform into something more sustaining and sustainable, or its initial force will just burn itself out into nothing,

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Earth Day Tips for Reducing our Animal Consumption

Blessings, Earthlings! In celebration of the day I wanted to share some resources and ideas. Thinking about environmental challenges that we face these days can be overwhelming. Everywhere we are hearing that we need to reduce our carbon emissions, but it can feel like individual actions are pointless when whole nations of others, let alone our own neighbors may still be refusing to do so. But there is hope. Reducing our carbon footprint and our ecological impact involves more than just how many cars are on the highway, or what factories and industries may or may not be willing to concede to. One thing that each of us has control over, that can have a surprising impact on carbon emissions, is how many animal products we consume.

If you would like a quick and easy download of information about this positive environmental impact that you can have, check out this link. It gives some quick and basic info, followed by very detailed links to practical advice for making more plant-based choices. So check out: http://www.greenyourdiet.org/

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