Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
Resource Review: Patricia Monaghan's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GODDESSESS AND HEROINES

My initial entry to the goddess path began with a deep intellectual bent; I soaked up myths and studied archetypes like crazy, waiting until the day when I was ready to talk to goddesses on a more tangible, personal level. Because I’ve always been a bit of a myth junkie, and because I’m a scholar at heart, I jumped at the chance to read the late Patricia Monaghan’s revised and re-released Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, published by New World Library. The book didn’t disappoint my thirst for information.

This large tome differs from Monaghan’s out of print title The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines in both its structure and its scope. Echoing Merlin Stone’s Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood, the Encyclopedia is arranged by continental region, with sections on Africa, Eastern Mediterranean, Asia and Oceania, Europe, and the Americas. Each section begins with a brief overview of cultural and historical information about the region in question, and as can be imagined, the regional sections are subdivided for clarity (and to offer more specific information about, say the Egyptian tradition within the African context).

In addition to the cultural context, Monaghan provides an extensive bibliography, plus a detailed description of how and why she chose to include the sources she did. Despite acknowledging the cultural limitations, Monaghan opted to draw her information only from works available in English, but the bibliography includes information about translations for the serious goddess scholar to track down on her own.

Chock full of information about both goddesses and heroines (historical female figures, or those with supernatural powers that don’t quite elevate them to goddess status), this is an excellent resource for anyone with an interest in goddess lore and the divine feminine. Scholars and casual browsers will both find something to appeal to them, since, as Monaghan notes in her introduction, the faces of goddesses around the globe are incredibly diverse; they “can appear as young nymphs, self-reliant workers, aged sages. They can be athletes or huntresses, dancers or acrobats, herbalists or midwives. We find goddesses as teachers, inventors, bartenders, potters, surfers, magicians, warriors, and queens. Virtually any social role women have played or are capable of playing appears in a goddess myth.” The vastness of goddesses, and, in truth, women, is represented in this volume, and it’s a resource I’m sure I’ll return to again and again.

Image retrieved from New World Library, http://www.newworldlibrary.com/BooksProducts/ProductDetails/tabid/64/SKU/82171/Default.aspx#

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The Magic of the Labyrinth

I recently began building my own labyrinth in the back yard of our RV long-term parking spot in the mobile home village where we currently live.  It is my way of creating my own sacred space. The photo above shows it now currently under construction.  I am making the construction an act of meditation, as I find an add stones two or three at a  time.  I think when it is complete, it will likely be time to move!

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A few days ago, Shirl Sazynski (author of the awesome One-Eyed Cat blog here at PS) recommended a new science fiction novel that she was enjoying: Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach. While I read a lot of sf, I don't read much military sf, but this sounded interesting. So, I clicked over to B&N and scrolled through the customer reviews.

Most of the reviews were quite positive. One negative review caught my eye, though -- not because it was negative, but because of the anonymous reviewer's reason for giving Fortune's Pawn a single star: 

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When your doubts overwhelm
When you act out your fears
When failure drags you down
Call on Magni, son of Thor

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Yesterday we celebrated Mabon over at the Broomstix Blog with a fantastic coloring page to print out by artist Robin Ator:

b2ap3_thumbnail_Corn-Dollie-Image.jpg

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The Jewish year 5775 begins at sundown tonight (Wednesday). In Hebrew, “new year” is r'osh ha-shana: literally, “head [of] the year.” Interestingly, the Arabic term for “new year” is the same: r'as as-sana. Clearly this expression goes back a long, long way, possibly even to Proto-Semitic times. In any event, the phrase long predates monotheism. One should probably posit an Arabic—possibly Moorish—origin for the Italian word for “new year,” capodanno. Three guesses what that means literally.

New Moon” in Hebrew is r'osh hodesh, literally (you guessed it) “head of the month.” Why would the head of something come to mean its beginning?

I can think of two possibilities.

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What I used to miss about Christianity

Over Mabon weekend I read Niki Whitings thoughts on what she misses about being a Christian as well as Jason Mankey’s andJohn Halstead’s posts on what they don’t miss. I asked myself how I felt about this as I went to three different Mabon celebrations. How does my new life as a Pagan compare?

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    "I am grateful to have a religion that values music, and ecstatic states of being. I do wish music was a bigger part of our ritual
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Gwion, I agree, AND I would love to have more music, including longer songs from shared songbooks :-)
  • Jason Leslie Rogers
    Jason Leslie Rogers says #
    Annika, Thank you for this post, for sharing your heart. Your timing is impeccable (perhaps synchronicitous is a better word). I
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thanks for the comment, Jason. It's a really tough transition to make, but in the end, totally worth it. I spent some time in the
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    So wonderful to be in community with you!

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