Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
Father of Church of Aphrodite Founder Canonized by Russian Orthodox Church

Even by pagan standards, it's an incredible story.

On February 3, 2016, Dr. Yevgeny Botkin (1865-1918), personal physician to Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia, was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church, 98 years after he was executed by the Bolsheviks along with the tsar, and the tsar's wife and children.

Known as “Righteous Passion-Bearer Yevgeny the Physician,” his son Gleb Botkin (1900-1969) was later to become the founder of the Long Island Church of Aphrodite, which in 1938 became America's first legally-recognized new pagan organization.

“It's better than worshiping Mary Baker Eddy [founder of Christian Science],” quipped the New York judge who granted legal recognition.

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Griffin: Majesty and Nobility

The Griffin (Gryphon) has had a long association with humans. For example, She is a part of people’s last names and featured in their coats of arms. Since the time of Sumner, the Griffin has stood for majesty and nobility.

 Various myths depict the Griffin as the combination of the lion and the eagle. Since both of these earthy animals are monarchs of their own domains, the Griffin is considered the Ruler of Heaven and Earth. This mythic animal, with her offspring Hippogriff, are the only members of the Tribes of the Cosmos. While the Griffin protects the Tree of Life with its Golden Apples, the Hippogriff carries the worthy traveler between the worlds. Because of this, the Griffin is also the Sentinel of the Throne of Heaven and Earth.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_bright-autumn-leaves.jpgRegarding awakened souls, there have never been more able crafts in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind… Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you.
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The Aries New Moon is in the spring, the Aries Full Moon in the fall (northern hemisphere). These are the seasons of change, and Aries is always pretty fearless when it comes to change. Aries tends to draw a sword and charge ahead, while the proverbial fearful angels watch in dismay — and maybe with a little bit of envy. This year, the Aries Full Moon is collaborating with iconoclastic Uranus and Eris, so over the next couple of weeks, we can expect not only change, but sudden, shocking changes and awakenings.

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Dust II Onyx: A Melanated Tarot Deck

Finding a deck that really connected with my personal energy became a daunting task. There were very few that allowed me to see myself in them, being a fat/black/queer woman. Dust II Onyx Tarot was created from my desire to make artwork that resonated with my soul, and now has become a work I want to share with others. I set out to create my own deck, and after months of not having a vision for what it’d look like a dream came to me. Then it came to me again. In the dream was an intensely gorgeous black portrait which has become the inspiration behind this deck. I began the work using my current knowledge of tarot and mostly my own intuition. The imagery that comes forth is as new to me as it is for the readers who will use this deck. It is coming from a place that is far beyond my conscious mind. -- Courtney Alexander, creator of the Dust II Onyx Melanated Tarot Deck

Although some would argue that this deck is for "people of color", I would maintain that it's a deck for everyone--especially those who see the world through universal archetypes, symbols and shared human experience.

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The Rites of Autumn

I asked a friend what family wisdom he felt he'd inherited from his ancestors.

“Work hard and live frugally,” he said. “And when times are good, set aside a little something for when they're not; for hard times will certainly come.”

Well, it's October in Minnesota, and that means that hard times are certainly on the way.

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A Mabon for the Moirai

The Moirai have been circling me for quite some time.  Maybe because I find them soothing (though overwhelming) instead of scary, maybe because of the spinning I do on my spindle and wheel, maybe because they are actually how I make sense of the world or maybe we just relate to the world somewhat similarly - that we are more What We Do than anything else.  It was really sealed for me two Philly Pagan Prides ago when I saw three blond (fairly identical) teenagers walking through the park together, unconsciously looking like that slow walk entrance scene in every teen movie ever.  And I suddenly thought to myself, what if that's what the Fates really look like?  Perfect, with zero fucks to give?  Holy shit that's terrifying.  My Lachesis (the measurer) had a whimsical thought while at the shore – what if the Fates went on vacation?  They would dutifully sun for a few hours before they all glanced at each other and silently agreed to do what they love – Clothos gleefully spinning cotton candy, Lachesis bellowing for people to let her guess their age and height, Atropos simply turning herself into a cat and eating every mouse that had the misfortune to make her acquaintance under the boardwalk.

 

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Day of the Dead, Samhain, and Halloween: cultural appropriation or something wonderful?

 

Taos, where I recently moved, is famous for its celebration of Day of the Dead.  Not surprisingly Day of the Dead themes have been integrated in to Halloween celebrations here.  Day of the Dead also shares many points of overlap with Samhain.   For the previous two years I worked with Mexican friends to organize a joint celebration of Samhain and Day of the Dead in Sebastopol, California. We had side by side altars and people were encouraged to light votives honoring their deceased loved one, and to place them on the altars of their choice.  My Wiccan altar had marigolds on it, and the skull was a colorful one in keeping with Day of the Dead symbolism. Otherwise it was very traditional.

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