Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

Specific paths such as Heathenism, blended traditions, polytheist reconstructionism, etc.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Swords and Swimming

This post covers 3 topics:

1. the Swords and Swimming ritual, my kindred's summer ritual this year;

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Summer Weaving: A Sacred Season

Since Ariadne's Tribe is a living spiritual tradition, it has taken us a number of years to complete our sacred calendar. This post and the next one will be the last additions for the foreseeable future. This has been a long-term community effort in the Tribe, and I'm grateful to everyone who has participated in this process.

So where are we in the calendar right now? We've just passed the Blessing of the Ships and are now in the season that leads up to Summer Solstice.

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The Lady of the Lake

Keywords: Guardian, Enchantment, Mystery, Femininity, Intuition, Destiny, Magical Gifts, Balance of Power

 

Known also as Nimue or Viviane in different versions of the stories, the Lady of the Lake is a powerful figure of the Arthurian legends whose role shapes the destiny of more than one man. Her actions often maintained or shifted the balance of power in the Arthurian world. Her origins blend ancient Celtic water goddess motifs with medieval romance. She serves as a guardian of the lake, of the mystic isle of Avalon, the sword Excalibur, and a mentor of knights and warriors such as Lancelot.

This card arrives as a messenger from sacred, liminal realms like Avalon and speaks of one’s natural intuition, inborn wisdom, destiny and the divine feminine. The Lady reminds you that you are guided and supported by forces beyond the visible world. This card may signify a pivotal moment where you are called to step into a significant role or embrace a higher purpose. It highlights the importance of mentorship and guidance, either as a mentor yourself or in seeking guidance from others.

The Lady of the Lake teaches the vitality and the power of femininity. She demonstrates this power when pursued by an infatuated Merlin, and she learns and uses his own spells and enchantments against him, sealing him in a tree (or cave, depending on the version).

While the Arthurian stories, events and characters may seem overwhelmingly male, there is much feminine influence and control underlying everything. It is the women of the stories; the faeries and enchantresses and queens, who shape the men and the outcomes. Almost all the men of the story, at some point or another, find themselves lusting after a particular woman and this leads either to their compromise or downfall. Nimue understood male weakness and how to use it for her own purposes. While this may sound manipulative and toxic, it illustrates the necessity – often for survival – of working around male brutality and impulse with feminine craft and cunning.

The Lady’s story underscores the necessity of using one's unique strengths to navigate challenges and maintain balance. Just as she wielded her enchantments to shift the fates of those around her, you too are encouraged to recognize and harness your own innate abilities in order to take charge of your own fate. This card calls you to honor the mystical and unseen forces at play in your life, to embrace your destiny with courage, and to trust in the protective, guiding energies of the divine feminine.

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Minoan Star Maps

In Ariadne's Tribe, our mythos is intricately interwoven with our sacred calendar. This connects the stories of the deities with the movement of celestial objects, from the Sun and Moon to the planets and stars. When we look up in the night sky, we see those stories spread out in sparkling array above us.

The Tribe mythos is organized into micropantheons, with each small group of deities having their own story cycles that are reflected in the stars. Micropantheons have been around in the Mediterranean since at least the Bronze Age, possibly earlier, so it's likely the Minoans had multiple ways of viewing the constellations depending on which deities their personal spiritual practice revolved around.

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This post recaps the news coverage about the Troth's explusion of Diana Paxson. Then this includes useful links for surivors at the bottom of the post.

TW: CSA

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New book now available for pre-order!

I have a new book coming out in March 2025! The Old Ways: A Hedge Witch's Guide to Living A Magical Life.

This is the perfect companion piece to The Path of the Hedge Witch: Simple, Natural Magic and the Art of Hedge Riding. It is more of an intermediate level book, but can be useful for anyone interested in Hedge Witchcraft. 

It is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Here are the links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Old-Ways-Witchs-Living-Magical/dp/0738775517/ 

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Old-Ways-Witchs-Living-Magical/dp/0738775517/ (may take a few more days to get the pre-order link on there)

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Old-Ways-Witchs-Living-Magical/dp/0738775517/

It is coming out 10 March 2025 in the US, and 31 March in the UK (kindle versions may arrive sooner). So, here's looking forward to March, 2025!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Hedge-Books_20240522-134741_1.jpg

 

Joanna van der Hoeven is the author many books, including the upcoming The Old Ways: A Hedge Witch's Guide to Living A Magical Life (out in March 2025), The Path of the Hedge Witch: Simple, Natural Magic and the Art of Hedge Riding, as well as The Book of Hedge Druidry: A Complete Guide for the Solitary Seeker. Find out more through her website at www.joannavanderhoeven.com

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sanctity of Beauty

Spirit of Beauty, that doth consecrate
With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
Of human thought or form, - where art thou gone?

- Percy Bysshe Shelley



When we awaken to the call of beauty, we become aware of new ways of being in the world. We were created to be creators. At its deepest heart, creativity is meant to serve and evoke beauty. When this desire and capacity come alive, new wells spring up in parched ground; difficulty becomes invitation and rather than striving against the grain of our nature, we fall into rhythm with its deepest urgency and passion. The time is now ripe for beauty to surprise and liberate us.

- John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace



Why is everything so ugly now? So much music, “art”, architecture and popular culture is now seemingly purposely being as ugly and grotesque as possible. Aesthetic seems to have been assassinated, not only in this new century but especially in this decade. I recently read it referred to as “aesthetic terrorism”, and that is a very apt term. People used to want to be as beautiful as possible, they wanted their homes and clothes and cars and everything to be beautiful. Now people seem to be trying to make things as ugly and cold and empty as they possibly can.

So much modern “art” (already hard pressed to be called art in my opinion) has taken an even sicklier turn and apparently now the most random, huge, rough block of stone can be considered art. A salt and pepper shaker filled with water are displayed in a case at a nearby museum and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We have gone from the Birth of Venus and Michelangelo’s David to salt and pepper shakers filled with water, something that shouldn’t exist anywhere outside of a diner dishwasher. Art is now even a target for climate protesters who think they’re making some kind of righteous statement.

But art, the beautiful, the aesthetic, is all sacred. It is what we should strive for, not self-mutilation or purposeful destruction or “uglification”. How are we to bear this life, the human condition, without beauty? Many will say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but that platitude only goes so far. There will always be a majority consensus and if something drifts too far down an extreme spectrum, there will be but few beholders who will really see any beauty, or they will pretend to in a case of the emperor’s new clothes. We have a distinct pandemic of this in our society.

If you are unfamiliar with the Brothers’ Grimm tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes, here it is.

Once upon a time, there was a wealthy king who was so proud of his appearance and his clothes that he spent all his time changing outfits and gazing in the mirror. One day, two clever swindlers came along, claiming to be tailors and promising him the finest clothes in the kingdom. But these clothes had magic powers, and were invisible to anyone unfit for their position or "hopelessly stupid."

The king
wanted not only the finest clothes he could get, but this would make it very easy to see who in his court didn’t deserve to be there! He paid them a great deal of money, and they pretended to make him the clothes. But there was no thread on their looms. They made a grand show of measuring, cutting, and stitching invisible fabric and fitting the emperor in front of his grand mirror.

The king was troubled that he couldn’t see any clothes! “Surely I am not hopeless
ly stupid! Surely I am not unfit to be king!” he thought. So he nodded and beamed at the “tailors”, playing along and saying how very beautiful the embroidered fabric was.

When the king paraded around in his new "clothes," everyone pretended to see them, praising their beauty, for they were all terrified of being dismissed or being seen for the cretins they were. All except for a little child who spoke up and said, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!"
Slowly the others had to agree, and one-by-one they stood up and bravely declared, “He isn’t wearing anything! He’s completely naked!”

And the proud king could only rush back into his palace and hide himself in shame, the clever swindlers and his money long gone.


So now people see the rich and famous, the spectacles, the flamboyant, the insecure over-compensators, the exhibitionists, the pop stars, the actors at the Met Gala, contestants on Eurovision, and they praise and admire, and usually they know not even what.

Most artists and performers have become little more than shock jockeys, seeing how far they can go, how ridiculous they can look, how much attention they can get. People, particularly the rich and famous, have always wanted attention but now, it’s not being done with beauty, like it used to be. It’s done with ugliness. Ugliness of all kinds and on all levels. Ugliness that so many people can’t even see because they have been so brainwashed and are so afraid of “not fitting in” or “not being liked”.

This ugliness is a manifestation of what is festering inside our society and in each of us. Art is often a reflection of the contemporary world and ours is, face it, pretty damn ugly these days. So while artists have choices, perhaps it is not that much of a surprise that so much art is so downright ugly now. And so many artists and others
still try to have the intellectual debate, “What is art? What makes art? Does art have to be beautiful? Can anything be art?” I can answer that last one at least. No, not anything can be art and not anything should be called art.

But art and aesthetic will not improve until people improve. It is a reflection of us, what we are creating is a reflection of who we are. And apparently most of us
these days are very ugly, very confused, very angry and hateful and very disconnected. Art imitates life, but life, in turn, also imitates art. This cycle needs to be one of beauty, but now it is not.

In a sense, all the contemporary crises can be reduced to a crisis about the nature of beauty….Perhaps, for the first time, we gain a clear view of how much ugliness we endure and allow. The media generate relentless images of mediocrity and ugliness in talk-shows, tapestries of smothered language and frenetic gratification. The media are becoming the global mirror and these shows tend to enshrine the ugly as the normal standard

- John O’Donohue,
Beauty: The Invisible Embrace


A
n excellent example of a mind-boggling piece of modern art is the new official portrait of King Charles III, in which only his face and hands are very clear and the whole piece is absolutely bathed in a torrent of strange red. Just red, all over. I don’t get the impression that this artist likes or respects Charles, yet somehow this is the piece that got commissioned and approved. I don’t know why. I can’t fathom it. But it’s almost like a visual “Freudian slip”; perhaps the desire by many for him to be “consumed by hellfire”, as some have described the look of the portrait, resulted in an accidental depiction of exactly that.
Particularly in a place, a palace in London, that is usually dripping in aesthetic, this new “art” is glaringly off brand.

But, again, perhaps this is very in step with our time. Hopefully the inevitability of ongoing change will bring us full circle and back to true beauty. Hopefully our continued moves toward entropy will birth a new and much better cycle. We must keep creating and we must keep aspiring to great heights, not new and dismal lows. Our well-being and our very survival depend on it.

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