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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
Got Wine?

It is the season of the grape, and a wine gathering is in order. Not that you should need an excuse to enjoy this heavenly beverage with your pals. It's just that everything simply seems more potent and poignant during harvest time.

Here are some new spins on the traditional wine tasting shindig: Use blindfolds during a taste test and see how good peoples' palates truly are. Allow the winner of the most guesses to take home an extra bottle.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I'd like to talk about some troubling attitudes toward holistic health and healing. Beth Lynch wrote her own entry about this topic and received a troubling comment that pretty much embodies everything that Camille and Beth were talking about in their respective posts. I'm not going to rehash everything that I said in my comments to the person there, but I would like to discuss what really worries me when people start going on woo alone.

Is there a mind-body connection? Yes, absolutely. However, the people I know who are /actual/ healers working with the mind/body connection [in my personal experiences with hypnotherapy, reiki, etc.] have never discouraged me from using western medicine. You know why?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath says #
    An excellent and needful post. Thank you for your work here.
  • Amoret BriarRose
    Amoret BriarRose says #
    This post is chock -full of so many good things.
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    I cannot click the Like button hard enough on this post. If the clinical depression and anxiety disorder that I live with every d

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mabon and the Search for Balance

As the Summer winds down towards the Autumnal Equinox, we are in between two seasons. In this time of transition, we stand at a crossroads, one foot in the Waxing Year, one in the Waning. Hot sunny days give way to cooler nights. The rains are more frequent and last all night, and out in the garden I am bringing in a harvest as well as getting ready to 'winterize.' Most trees are still vibrant and green, but here and there you can see a tinge of rusty red or a shock of yellow leaves. The light thickens like honey, and even as we are enjoy the last days of Summer's warmth and light, we already sense the slow steady pull downward, towards the Descent and the darkening days of the Waning Year. Right now we stand suspended between these two seasons, and for a brief moment we feel balance.

Balance is the law that governs all of nature, but it rarely shows itself as a static, tranquil point. The balance I'm talking about is a dance, a commotion of interconnected and interdependent parts that make up the living systems of our planet. The plants, animals, land and weather all interact and act upon each other, effecting the very shape of the landscape. Any change or disruption to one part of the web will be felt throughout it. Those changes can be for good or ill, but they are unpredictable and may take a long time to reveal themselves. At Mabon, we stand in a place of balance where many possibilities are open to us. We strive to come to a still point of balance, amidst change and potential, where we can take a moment and see where we are, in our lives and the Year, and the webs of connection that make up our own lives.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_moon.jpgWe have an interesting confluence of energies coming up this week. First, Pluto goes direct at 8:37 pm on the 22nd (all times EDT). Then, less than two hours later, the Sun enters Libra, giving us Pluto stationing direct in the Libra Ingress chart on a Dark Moon. Just over a day later, there is a New Moon, still on the sensitive Aries Point at 1 degree of Libra. (The Aries Point is zero degrees of any cardinal sign. Anything within a degree and a half or two degrees of that point is given strength and emphasis, and gets things moving)

The cardinal ingress charts — in other words, the charts of the solstices and equinoxes — are usually predictive for the next three months. (Occasionally, they will be in effect for longer — the influence is more like a tide than a line drawn in the sand.) A New Moon chart that is not an eclipse is predictive for the month ahead, and Pluto going stationary direct is…well, you know how hitting just the right note can set up a vibration that shatters glass? Listen as Pluto’s hum changes key and increases in volume now that he and Uranus are once again heading towards each other. They meet in their next exact square December 15th.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    You are very welcome, Arwen. Glad you found it helpful.
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Thank you for this, Diotima. Something I will be coming back to for certain.
Pagan savings challenge, week thirty-eight:  stacking up

At this point in the year, the money accumulated under via the Pagan savings challenge is building up at a significant clip, a hundred dollars being added about every three weeks.

Pat yourself on the back, friend Pagan; you are raising energy.  You are saving money.  Stay the course, we are almost there.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

The woman who sculpted our temple's goddess was having a few one night with folks from her artist's collective in Boston. They were far enough in their cups to be one-upping each other: the artist's brag.

I had a one-person show at the X Gallery,” says one.

I have a piece in the Y Museum,” says another.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Before taking any major action, I try to ask myself, “Is this my Will?” and follow it with “And to what end?” as many do in the Thelemic traditions even though I identify primarily as a Witch. It is my belief that we all have something unique to craft in the world, be it something tangible, intangible, or simply the model by which we live our life, and we should seek to embody that, and examine the impulses and motives that kindle that Will.

While requests, dialogues, and relationships can be helpful, rarely do demands kindle my Will into action. They are filled with all sorts of presumptions and assumptions that I never find helpful in the spiritual quest, but they can engage compassion towards those who feel so strongly, and wisdom in knowing when to speak and not speak, and to hopefully be more skillful when speaking. I tend not to give too much attention to the presumptions. Like weeds choking out my garden, I feed the things I wish to grow, and remove or starve out the things that block the light or steal the nutrients – time, energy, life force. If I contribute to something, it's usually because I feel I have something unique to contribute, or I need to explore my own thoughts, feelings, and motivations on a topic. If I don't, then I'm usually making room for those who do.

Anyone who has followed my work and its evolution over the last decade or so, will probably notice that I'm really interested in consciousness, and how shifting consciousness changes perceptions, experiences, our relationship with nature, and contacts with other entities. I look to older wisdom, but do not shun the new, and essentially seek out what works, as expressed in the growing culture of modern Witchcraft.

My days are filled with creating opportunities to share these ideas and provide context to explore them, through writing and, ideally, in workshops. Lately my focus has been establishing a community devoted to these ideas and practices through the Temple of Witchcraft. Though there are a lot of other facets of my life, this is my Work. I'm not here to change anyone's mind to a specific way of thinking, but to offer tools to perceive and transform. Ultimately it's the teaching, and not the personality, image, or personal beliefs of the presenter of the teachings, that is important. Just because I believe in something, or work with a group or individual, does not mean you should. My choices are my own, as are yours.

In the age of easy quick-fix answers that say everything is perfect just as it is, teachings asking you to change perception through a regular disciplined practice are not as popular, and that's okay. Things really are perfect they way they are, on one level, but we're still here to do something, and walking the path helps us find the perfection in the moment, while still striving to do our Will. We all contribute to the perfection of every moment by doing more of our Will. Life can provide regular practice, even if we are not showing up daily at the altar, at the circle, or wherever we practice. All our communities and groups can provide that light and mirror if we approach them as such. A favorite wisdom teaching I learned long ago tells us those who do not enact sacred drama through ritual are destined to experience drama in their personal lives, often unknowingly. So I usually opt for ritualized drama to make my daily life a little more conscious and clear.

So any tool for changing consciousness, awareness and perception is a great ally. But some allies, like the poisons on the poison path, are not always easy or clear. They might present as an enemy, a toxin, or they might lull us into the idea they are perfectly safe when they are not. There is always an element of danger, of risk. But in any case, they are allies in our evolution, even when they present painful situations. Does the Witch shun the Belladonna, simply because of her alluring toxicity? Certainly not! But we know when to approach it, and when not to, and when, how, and where to take it through an experienced guide. Sometimes the best medicine is to simply sit in her presence and exchange the energy of awareness, breath by breath.

Many years ago, a Wiccan elder talked to me about how “Everything serves the Goddess, whether we want to or not, whether we know it or not.” That includes us. That includes everyone and everything else. Even our "enemies." Hopefully the more aware you are, the more skillfully you can serve. But even those who seemingly barrel through life and community also serve, whether any of us know it and believe it or not.

Sometimes compassion is helping when asked, throwing a rope into the pit and being willing to pull someone up, but it takes someone on the other end of the rope willing to hold on and climb out. Jumping into the dark pit in order to help can trap you all and leave no path to change. Sometimes compassion is being okay with other people not being okay until they work things out. Sweeping in assuming you have all the answers and can solve a problem assumes a whole lot of things that are often not true, and can cause more problems than it solves.

I wonder if there is a deeper purpose there, triggering responses and conversations that we would not otherwise have. The old alchemical maxim applies to life – dissolve and coagulate. Things often have to break apart to be purified, to grow and learn, before coming together. The agent of dissolution is usually considered an acid, and these times can feel quite acidic. While this deeper purpose, this acid, is a great service to the Goddess, as Mother Nature is the foremost alchemist, I have to imagine its a hard road to walk for both those who trigger these events and those who feel their effects, and I hope they can find other ways to serve that would be a little more peaceful for us all. But even if they don't, it is all still sacred.

Perhaps at this time, to question, grow, and change, we need to be provoked. We need the catalyst of anger and pain to get to the next step. Sometimes we can only handle the smaller outrages, as the global ones are so overwhelming and numbing, but the chance to explore it on one scale, prepares us for things on another scale. If there is a reaction, then there is a need to explore it. I look forward to a time when we are deep enough into our practice that there are not provocations and reactions, just responses, and we can work through conflicts and potential toxicity in a more peaceful way. I think of that often as I sit in my poison garden, hanging out with all my deadly allies from the green world. We sit and grow in respect, love, power, and wisdom together, peacefully exchanging with each breath.

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