Culture Blogs


PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
'Ulei: A Tale of Madame Pele

During the 1955 eruption of Hawai'is Mount Kilauea, a large section of Puna was cut off from the rest of the island by two massive lava-flows. As a safety precaution, the authorities evacuated the entire area.

Three men from a local sugar company chartered a plane to check on canefields in the impacted area. The plane set them down between the two lava-flows. Much to their surprise, they came upon a striking native woman in a red dress, with a great cloud of black hair down her back, sitting at the edge of the cane-field.

“Hi,” said the men.

“Aloha,” said the woman.

“What are you doing here?” they asked.

She smiled. “Just resting here in the shadow of the sugarcane.”

“This area was evacuated two weeks ago,” the men told her. “You're in terrible danger: you're between two lava flows here.”

The woman just smiled.

“What is your name?” they asked her.

“'Ulei,” she said. 'Ulei is a Hawai'ian shrub with small, white, rose-like flowers.

The men offered to take her to safety with them on their plane.

“Oh, I'm not leaving yet,” she said, “At least, not today; I still have work to do here. Perhaps I'll be ready to go next week.”

The men warned the woman that they would have to report her to the authorities, as her presence in the area was illegal. "These laws exist to protect people," they told her.

For the first time, the woman looked displeased.

“I follow my own laws,” she told them.

Last modified on
Cryolophosaurus: Use Your Imagination

In 1991, the first dinosaur to be found in Antarctica was Cryolophosaurus. This opened up a new continent to dinosaur discoveries. Named for the geologist David Elliot, who first excavated this dinosaur, Cryolophosaurus’ full taxonomic name became “Cryolophosaurus elliotti.” In 1994, He became the first Antarctic dinosaur to be named. This dinosaur’s name means “frozen crest lizard.”

 Life in the Antarctic during the early Jurassic was much different than today. At that time, Antarctica was further north and closer to the equator. Also, the warm Jurassic oceans allowed for plant and animal life to flourish there. However, there were still long periods without a sunrise. This continent was also cooler than other places. Not many large dinosaurs of the Jurassic could tolerate either condition very well. Medium sized Cryolophosaurus did and thrived. This meat-eater had little completion for the Pterosaurs and Prosauropods that He hunted.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Goddesses in the News

Since Kilauea began its most recent eruption a fortnight ago, we've been hearing a lot in the news about Madame Pele, Lady of Kilauea.

Every pagan should sit up and take notice.

Even from here in Minnesota, I've heard Hawaiians of many different ethnic backgrounds talking about Her. It's well worth listening closely to what they say.

No one tries to explain Her away as a metaphor or an archetype. No one mounts a defense of Traditional Hawaiian religion. They simply speak of Pele as an indisputable datum, as real as the old lady next door.

In fact, people do see Her in human form all the time. “With great regularity Pele stories appear, usually on Page One, of every Hawai'i newspaper from Hilo to Hanalei,” writes Rick Carroll, editor of the anthology Madame Pele: True Encounters with Hawai'i's Fire Goddess. “Over the years, I clipped Pele tales from Time magazine, the New Yorker, National Geographic, and mainland newspapers” (Caroll xiii-ix).

I've noticed that people usually (although not always) give enough qualifying explanation for us non-Hawaiians to understand what they're saying: “the goddess Pele,” “Pele the volcano goddess.” Information needs to be contextualized, after all; your hearer needs to know enough to be able to understand what you're saying.

I doubt that most of the folks that I've heard speaking of the Red Lady to reporters would describe themselves as practicing Traditional Hawaiian religion.

Last modified on
The Secret to Thomas Edison's Genius: Crystals!

Thomas Edison carried quartz crystals with him at all times and called the stones his dream crystals. He believed they inspired his ideas and inventions. Literary legends George Sand and William Butler Yeats also relied on crystals to help spark their considerable creativity.

Data has also been gathered to show the effectiveness of quartz in certain healing techniques, such as chakra therapy, acupressure, and light-ray therapy, as we will discuss in depth later. But the simplest way to promote healing with crystal is to wear a stone.

...
Last modified on
Not the Sharpest Athame: In Praise (More or Less) of Hans Holzer

Let's face it, Hans Holzer was not exactly the sharpest athame in the circle.

And there's the wonderment of the thing: that even through such flawed tools as ourselves, do They work Their will in the world.

Hans Holzer (1920-2009) was, by all accounts, an interesting guy. Born in Vienna, he PhD'd in Classical Archaeology (assuming this wasn't one of those invisible degrees that occultists are so good at conjuring out of the Air), emigrated to Chicago, and wrote 120 popular-press books on subjects arcane and occult.

In so doing, he gave hundreds of thousands of us our first leg-up into the Old Ways.

Though not exactly the brightest candle on the altar, Holzer had the nose, and the sense, to understand that the rise of the Modern Craft and the New Paganisms were profoundly interesting phenomena, and so—years before Margot Adler did it smarter and better—he traveled across Contemporary Pagandom interviewing the Movers and Shakers who were to become the First Generation of American Pagans. Then he wrote books about them.

In this way, Holzer became an invaluable chronicler of that shining generation of thinkers and doers who created Modern Paganism. In some cases—as with his interviews with Ordún of Chicago's Sabaean Temple—he preserved a record of brilliant and path-breaking work that has since gone largely forgotten.

To be sure, Holzer had his limitations. Often he simply didn't understand his informants. Again and again in his writings, Holzer tries to translate what his interviewees are saying into plain language. Frequently he just plain gets it wrong, transforming the insightful into the banal. That's the danger of interviewing one's Betters.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Twelve will get you thirteen, Anthony, that that book was his The Truth About Witchcraft, by far Uncle Hans' best-researched book
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember reading a Holzer book back in the 70's. I can't remember the title. I am almost certain that I made a few notes for f
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Credit where it's due: it was Holzer and his New Pagans that took the P-word out of the pagan ghetto and began to give it cultura
  • Chris Sherbak
    Chris Sherbak says #
    For me it was "New Pagans." I was in SoCal when Feraferia, CAW and CES were all active (and I was a member of the latter two) and
We're the Keepers of the Flame: Hestia's Hearth Altar

Vesta is the Roman cognate of the revered Greek goddess, Hestia, “first of all divinities to be invoked” in classical rituals. In Greece, they had public hearths called prytaneums that came under the domain of the most revered Hestia, protector of “all innermost things,” according to the great philosopher Pythagoras, who also claimed that her altar fire was the center of the earth. The altar of Vesta in classical Rome was tended by the Vestal Virgins and was also believed to be the very center of the earth. The insignia for the goddess Vesta was an altar table with flames at both ends, forming the Greek letter “pi,” which is the numerological symbol for the Pythagorean sect.

 The Vestal Virgins were the keepers of Rome’s eternal flame. It was believed that if the fire of Vesta’s altar went out, the Roman Empire would fall. In the fourth century, C.E., Christians extinguished the vestal fire and began the process of erasing pagan religions and symbols.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Practical Time-Travel

Have you ever Gone Back and Entered Into a particular ritual?

They say that when it wasn't safe to attend the Sabbat physically, this is exactly what they used to do, with or without benefit of flying ointment.

Some years back, I was priest at the May Eve celebration of one of the local Wiccan churches. It's the custom hereabouts to observe Beltane with the Great Rite, and we'd designed the ritual so that three symbolic Great Rites were enacted simultaneously: Male-Female, Female-Female, Male-Male.

I was on blade, John on (drinking) horn. At the moment of Union, there was this funny little extra zing to it, a soupçon of je ne sais quoi which, at the time, I couldn't quite figure out.

Last modified on

Additional information