Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
Twelve Healing Stars is a yearlong project in cooperation with the Temple of Witchcraft that explores social justice through the lessons of the 12 Zodiac Signs. This is part seven. “So it is with skillful warriors – their force is swift, their precision is close. Their force is like drawing a catapult, their precision is like releasing the trigger.”

-Sun Tzu, The Art of War

I’ve always struggled with activism. I know it’s the right thing to do in many cases, but there are so many justified causes that it can feel overwhelming. If you put your finger on one problem, another head of the hydra pops up in its place. You want to be a warrior, but there are enemies everywhere. It’s easy to lose track of where to aim and how much force to use. It can be depressing and paralyzing.

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The All-Purpose Oracle

In his brilliant comic novel, The Metamorphoses (also known as The Golden Ass), Lucius Apuleius (ca. 124-ca. 170 CE) spies on a witch getting ready for her evening jaunt. She schmeers herself with ointment, turns into an owl, and flies off. Apuleius thinks this looks like fun, and tries the ointment himself.

Silly cowan.

He's transformed (you can't say he didn't deserve it) into a jackass. In this form he is bought by some galli, the itinerant priests of the Syrian Goddess who, whenever they're not taking up collections or screwing as many guys as they can manage to wrap their legs around, tour the countryside going into trances and giving fake oracles.

Eventually the galli get tired of having to come up with new oracles all the time, so they hit on a solution: the foolproof answer to all questions.

Yoke the oxen, plow the land:

tall the golden grain will stand.

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Hunting for Spring

Our evenday (equinox) eve always begins with a hunt.

In the late winter darkness, we light our candles and go through the house with our baskets, looking for spring. We gather eggs—chocolate ones, mostly—but in the end we still have to descend into the underworld to find Spring, and bring her back ourselves. Here in the north, it's what you have to do.

As a ritual planner, I kicked against this part of the ritual for years. I feared it would trivialize what came after. But in fact gathering our baskets of candy is a delight, and the resonances of the act are ancient, deep, and meaningful.

Since the ritual takes place at my house, in after-days I keep finding spring. It happened this morning. Well into summer, I keep finding spring. This is why we use chocolate eggs for the egg-hunt and keep the real ones for the ritual.

Last year I found the last egg during the Yule cleaning. By then, the chocolate was a little dry and oxidized, but it still tasted sweet. Spring is always sweet, whenever you find it.

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If I could write for an empty room, a totally empty audience, I would be incredibly prolific. 

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    Instead of a pentagram, maybe you could find something that identifies you to others like us - if you want. You could wear a moon
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    1. Be politically incorrect. It is fun. Just being a witch is politically incorrect. 2. How will you know you are wrong if you don
  • Lee Pike
    Lee Pike says #
    Thanks for your thoughtful comment Rick. You make some very good points. The horse has indeed bolted on this one and now that I am
ELESTIAL CRYSTALS - Connect with angelic energies

This week we’ll be discussing Elestial crystals which is a crystal type that falls into the category of crystals' overall shape, such as Curved. This means we aren't counting edges of faces, looking at surface features or otherwise looking at PARTS of a crystal, but we are looking at the overall shape of the crystal.

Elestial crystals are described as crystals which "have natural terminations over the body and face of an etched and/or layered crystal". So, what does that mean? Simply, that they really aren't in the shape of a traditional point. They are layered all over with self-healed looking surfaces.

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Spring - a renewal

Spring!  A relief from the winter cold, snow, and the introspective time of assessing where I am and what I need to do next.  It’s about new beginnings and a fresh start.  I’m sitting here laughing about this because here in Wisconsin we have four inches (more in some places) of snow on the ground.  It is still snowing and they said it was supposed to stop by 8 this morning.  We’re two hours past that. 

Spring equinox is all about renewal, rebirth, coming alive again after the winter.  The Persephone / Demeter story is one of the myths which is prominent for this time of year.  Persephone returns to her mother and Demeter comes back to life with the return of her daughter. 

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Which Came First, the Marshmallow or the Peep?

I can remember my first theological debate. I was 7.

It was spring. My friend Mary Chris contended that Lent is called Lent because that's when you eat lentils. The Stepanoviches were Serbian Orthodox, and ate lots of lentils during Lent.

Clearly, there was a larger principle at stake here. To me, it seemed ridiculous that the larger thing should be named for the smaller. My automatic contrarian position was that lentils are named for Lent because that's when you eat them. (Not that anyone in my family ate lentils during—or even observed—Lent, mind you. But growing up in Pittsburgh, everyone knows what Lent is.)

Lent derives from the Old English word for “spring,” when the days lengthen. Had Harold won at Hastings, our four seasons today might be Winter, Lent, Summer, and Harvest.

Lentil is the diminutive of Latin lens, which meant “lentil.” (A lens, of course, is named for its lentil-like shape.) As we've been eating lentils for the last 12,000 years or so—since the end of the last Ice Age—it's not surprising that they should have their own name.

The words are unrelated. As in so many theological debates, it turns out that we were both wrong.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    My parents were Great Depression survivors as well, and they never let us forget it. My dad was a farmer, specializing in tomatoe
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My parents were both children of the Great Depression, so I never discovered the Joy of Legumes until I became vegetarian at 18. N
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Growing up in a Xtian household, albeit both Roman Catholic and Methodist, we did observe Lent for my Catholic dad, and I never ev

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