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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
Spring Equinox: Aries, Action & Identity

Friday March 20 marked several astrological events, all of which gave power to this year's Spring Equinox. Not only was it the Equinox, when day and night are balanced, marking the shift into a new season and an acceleration towards the light in this waxing year, it was also a SuperMoon and a Solar eclipse. While the eclipse was not visible in most of the Americas, the timing and power of these events were felt, subtly and not so subtly, throughout the world.

Although many Pagans mark the “new year” on Samhain or Yule, for many ancient cultures the New Year started in Spring. For while the work of the new year may be seeded or dreamed of in the dark of Winter, it is now that this new life becomes evident. Just as the baby rabbits born weeks ago are starting to come out and explore, just as the new buds that have been plumping up for weeks are starting to pop, maybe we are aware of something stirring inside ourselves.

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The Grateful Witch: A Tale of the Slovenian Roma

While eating lunch one day a girl noticed that, having shelled their hard-boiled eggs, her parents crumpled up the shells before throwing them away. She asked why they did this.

“If you don't, the witches use them for boats,” they explained. At one time this belief was quite widespread throughout Central Europe.

“Witches need boats, just like anyone else,” she replied, and threw her eggshell, uncrumpled, over her left shoulder. A whirlwind caught the shell and whisked it away.

One day the girl was fishing from an island in the middle of a river. Suddenly, due to a heavy downpour upstream, the water began to rise. Before she knew it, her boat was swept away, and soon the rapids were in danger of covering the entire island.

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Changing Consciousness: Pagan Activism in Canada


b2ap3_thumbnail_2015-03-14-12.46.50.jpgI don't think there's any doubt, for any witch who's been to one, that a public protest is a magickal act. A group of people get together and use symbolism to focus the collective will towards a specific goal.  If the magick is successful, consciousness changes, with results that are reflected in the outer world.

So last weekend I, along with about two or three hundred other people, gathered in downtown Vernon, BC to protest the new proposed Canadian anti-terror bill, C-51.  We rallied, sang, cheered, and marched through the city streets, holding up our major highway for several minutes.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    14 years after the US Patriot Act the Canadian government decides they need a similar bill? That doesn't pass the smell test at al

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Tree of Dawn

In Latvian lore, not much is remembered of Austra—the goddess whose sister-selves include the other Dawn goddesses of the Indo-European diaspora: Ushas, Eos, Aurora, Ostara, Easter, among others—except for her name and her symbol.

Each of the Old Gods of the Baltic pantheon is associated with a particular sigil that has been faithfully transmitted through folk-art—in particular weaving and embroidery—down to our own day. Saule (Sun) has a sun-wheel, Mēness (Moon) a crescent, Pērkons (Thunder) the thunder-cross (fylfot), and the like (Dzērvītis112ff.).

Since Austra, by her very nature, does not readily lend herself to depiction—how does one draw a picture of light, of color?—her symbol is Austras koks, “Austra's tree.” This makes eminent sense, since trees capture both the first and last light of the day, even when the Sun is not yet (or is no longer) above the horizon. In Latvian lore Austra's tree is said to have copper roots, silver leaves, and golden branches (Dzērvītis 115).

Read figuratively, this describes the colors of the great Tree of the East as it shines with the new light of dawn. Read literally, the image may sound to the modern ear both artificial and unnatural. But to the ancestors, for whom the natural was commonplace and artifice precious, the image would have expressed the transformation of the everyday into the extraordinary.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    "Dawn, shining raccoon...."
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember seeing some mornings back in high school when the early light shown down through the trees. I never met a pretty girl
The Way of the Magical Warrior--6 Strategies for Dealing with Personal Conflicts and Challenges

Every single human on earth experiences personal conflicts and challenges. Many of us on the magical path believe that we incarnated into this realm because our soul is learning about its true divine nature, and conflicts and challenges are catalysts for this process. (Not to mention, let’s be honest: life would be boring without them.) But whether or not you see things in this way, as a magical practitioner – whether your problem is old or new, immediate or systemic – you have the opportunity to transmute your challenges into lessons and conflicts into blessings.

Choosing to live in this way is the way of the magical warrior. Indeed, an alive, energized, activated tension occurs when every challenge and conflict becomes grist for the mill of learning, growing, and expanding. It’s a brave way to live, and the only way to truly own your personal power and not feel hopelessly buffeted about by the annoyances and heartbreaks that characterize every single life experience.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Karen Wheeler
    Karen Wheeler says #
    I thought I was just doing something to get rid of the stress for all these years, funny how witchery comes so naturally to some
  • Tess Whitehurst
    Tess Whitehurst says #
    Hi Karen! Thank you so much for your kind words and for connecting! Glad you liked the piece. Happy spring!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Drunkenness of Birds

Yesterday there were no robins. Today, right on cue—the first day of spring—they're everywhere.

The birds are back, and busily pairing off. Last week I heard the first mourning dove. Today I saw two of them, back in the mulberry tree where they always nest—if one can grace with the name “nest” a few twigs tossed together into the fork of a branch. Actually, there were three doves in the tree, but I'm afraid the third is going to have to look elsewhere. Reputation aside—and they really do lay up to 6 clutches a year—doves are monogamous.

The robins are pairing off too. So are the sparrows and the newly-returned starlings. The branches of the City of Trees are filled with flirtations and love-chases. Mating: the real March Madness.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
SPRING BREAK EQUINOX PARTY

I just finished my spring break last week. That doesn't mean I am not still in a spring break frame of mind. You don't have to travel to sunnier locales to get there. Nor do you have to be going back to school, like myself. You can pitch a SPRING BREAK EQUINOX PARTY! Why not revisit your crazy college days and let loose? We will be experiencing the triple whammy of a solar eclipse, (new) Supermoon, and the equinox tomorrow. So we may as well go all out.

First, invite everyone you know. Heck, even invite some people you'd like to know. Let them be aware that no one gets in without donning some beach wear. Bermuda shorts, bathing suits, floppy hats, flip-flops, sunglasses, the works. Next, stock up on your surf music. If you want to keep the tunes flowing all night, mix in some ska, which always has a cheery upbeat party vibe. 

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