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
Standing at the Center of Time

Imagine that you're standing in the middle of a clock-face, facing 3.

Stretch out your right arm towards 5 and your left towards 1.

Now face East and hold your arms out in the same way. Extend the angle of your arms all the way out to the horizon.

Here where I live (44.9778° N), that's how far the Sun travels from one Sunstead (Solstice) to the next. Same with the Western horizon.

Due East and West, of course, mark the Sun's rising and setting positions at the Evendays (Equinoxes).

The midway points between the Sunstead and Evenday risings and settings mark the Cross-farthing points: Samhain-Imbolc (southerly) and Bealtaine-Lunasa (northerly). From wherever you live, you should be able to point out these places on your own horizon. If you're not paying attention, you're not pagan.

Having lived in the same house for almost 30 years now, I know these “Stations of the Sun” very well indeed. I'm nonetheless always astounded at how quickly the Sun moves along the horizon. The rising point now is well past the Imbolc mark, well on the way to Ostara/Easter, and we have the dawn skies to prove it.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    YAAAAASSSSS!!!
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    We worship some ancient god out of a book and think that that's paganism. That's not paganism; that's a cartoon of paganism. Full
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    I needed this today. Thank you. And "if you're not paying attention, you're not Pagan" ....yes yes yes...

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Secret Smile

A warm golden light streams from the temple doorway. I enter.

Shining, the Goddess stands on the altar. She's actually grinning.

This is not always the case. Usually Her smiles are of the small, secret variety that art historians call “archaic.”

Not today. Today She wears a big, wide grin. Anyone who thinks that statues are static has never lived with this one.

Gifts always make Her happy. The coven was over for Full Moon last night. Each of us kindled a candle before Her. For five days they will burn there, bearing the intentions of our heart.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
KIWI: Sacredness of Being Contrary

Unable to fly, the kiwi probes about the forest floor looking for tasty bugs. The sensitive hairs around her bill help Her to sense the underground movements of worms. Also, at the end of her curved beak are nostrils for smelling. (This is unusual in birds).

This plump little bird has many features similar to mammals. Like the badgers, She lives in a series of underground burrows that She has dug. In addition, her bristly feathers resemble soft mammal fur. Furthermore unlike other birds, the kiwi has two working ovaries.

...
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Protective Coloration

I have it from a friend who grew up Pentecostal that if ever (who knows?) you should have to pass yourself off as a “Tongues”-spouting Bible-banger, here's what you need to do.

Look like you're in trance. (You're pagan, no problem.)

Repeat again and again, faster and faster, as if you can't help yourself:

Tie my bow tie. Untie my bow tie. Retie my bow tie.

***

 The ancient Romans regarded the Germanic tribes as paragons of perfidy. Again and again they would conclude treaties, only to break said treaties as soon as it was advantageous to do so.

What the Romans never understood was that in Germanic culture, A binding agreement can only be validly concluded between equals.

With some effete, boy-boffing southron shaveling, no agreement could ever possibly be considered binding.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Some Thoughts on a Contemporary Cernunnos

That the Horned God speaks directly to contemporary needs and sensibilities may readily be deduced from the hundreds—if not thousands—of contemporary visual images that He has inspired.

I'd like to take a little time to muse on what strikes me as one of the simplest, most beautiful and, simultaneously, most articulate of those many images: Thalia Took's "Cernunnos." 

Took takes as her prototype the famous—and eponymous—image of Cernunnos from the Gallo-Roman Pillar of the Boatmen discovered in 1710 underneath the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris (see below). Both images share a full-face view of the god, with antlers, beard, torque, and leaf-shaped cervine ears. Clearly this is a god who readily hears prayer, his hearing as sensitive as a deer's. Both images are inscribed with the name of the god: in the Notre Dame Cernunnos, above the image itself; in Took's, charmingly, below.

I'm struck by the visual economy of Took's rendering. We see only the base of the god's antlers; his shoulders and bare chest suggest both virility and nudity. His pentagrammatic face—beard, antler, ear, ear, antler, beard again—gazes out directly at the viewer, enhaloed in his wild tangle of hair. This is a wilder, more untamed god than that of the Paris Boatmen. 

In your imagination, take away Cernunnos' antlers, ears, and "torque" (on which, more shortly).  Connoisseurs of historic irony will note that the god, with his open face, short beard, and centrally-parted shoulder-length hair bears a strong resemblance to traditional images of Jesus. This is sheer brilliance on Took's part: it both lends the image a disquieting familiarity, and with gentle humor redresses the fact that early Christian artists, in the absence of any real knowledge of the historical Jesus' appearance, based what has come to be the standard image of the Christian god on pagan prototypes. Call it a cattle-raid of icons.

Note both the economy and the aptness of Took's palette. The original Pillar of the Boatmen Cernunnos sculpture would likely have been painted, but we can no longer say what the colors might have been. Took here renders the god solely in greens and browns: precisely what one would expect for a god of woodland and wildlife.

Also well worth noting are the ways in which Took departs from the Paris image. We see here the subtlety of her approach. The Paris Cernunnos wears a royal torque and, as god of wealth, sports two more hanging from his antlers. Here, though, what at first seems to be a torque proves, on closer inspection, to be a green snake. Like Shiva, the Western Antlered also wears around his neck a living serpent, which (as witches well know) whispers into his leaf-shaped cervine ears the mysteries of the Great Below.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Please, and with my blessing!
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Beautiful! Another one to print out for my inmates' binder of shadows. Thanks.
Pink Puss: Elfin Ally Oracle for the Virgo Full Moon

Here at Witches and Pagans, I’ll be sharing a spirit animal painting and message from my Elfin Ally Oracle Deck picked especially for the zodiac sign that Mama Moon is currently transiting. Enjoy!

Keyword: Love
Meaning: This is YOUR time, so make it special, for you are precious.
Reversed: Why are you wasting your time?

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Title: Occult Detective Quarterly #5

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