Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Vesta: An Old World Faith for New World Families

Hello all – my name is Debra Macleod and I am new to this community. Professionally, I am a marriage and family mediator and relationship author-expert. Personally, I am a proponent of the New Vesta tradition. I believe that the rituals and principles of this home-based spirituality can help many people keep their marriages and families together, and for that reason it is my hope to re-ingite the flame of Vesta in modern homes, albeit with a few flickers of change to keep up with the times.

I have for many years focused on skills-based advice to help people keep their homes intact. There is no doubt that couples who have the ability to communicate effectively, move past conflict in a positive way, work as a team and consistently practice good interpersonal behaviors are more likely to resolve problems and stay together than those who don’t have such abilities.

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As Solstice Dawns in Knossos

Travel with me, across the world and back in time, to a Winter Solstice morning in ancient Crete. We are among the special guests, the important members of the community who have been invited to join the priests and priestesses of Knossos to witness a most sacred event. The gathering begins in the darkness before dawn.

The air is crisp and cold as we join the others waiting in silence in the great plaza at the center of the temple. We stand in the dark, pressed close together, listening for that special sound – the blast of the conch shell that announces the first glimmer of the Winter Solstice sunrise over the land to the east. Our breathing generates tiny clouds of steam that are barely visible as the sky begins to lighten from deep black to dark blue. Then, as the first rosy fingers of light stretch up from the horizon, the triton sounds, its call echoing around the stone-paved plaza. Though we are still surrounded by dimness and cannot see the Sun over the tall temple walls, we feel its presence as the process of dawning begins.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_1335222298819461.jpgAs with naturalism, wildness is the Vanic virtue that seems to have been with me from the beginning.  One of the main complaints I hear about "kids these days" is that they need to go outside more.  In the 1980s, kids were just starting to have things like video games, which I was Not Allowed to play, my mother wanted me to read books or play outside.  And I did a lot of that.  Nature was my solace, my sanctuary.  My heart spoke the language of the wind and the rain, my feet danced the rhythms of the Earth, changing seasons in New England. I spent enough time outdoors as a kid that my mother used to make jokes about me being a "feral child" and "raised by wolves", but it wasn't entirely a joke.  There was this constant feeling of other-ness from childhood onward, that was further reinforced by my outdoor adventures.  Kids played outside to play with each other, usually games of conquest and domination - I played outside to connect with the land, sometimes pretending I was a tree, or a bird or an animal, when I wasn't exploring or just watching the world around me.

I was a strange child.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Yes, it would have been nice to have a bestie. I have wondered the same thing myself. I know at least in my case that's true.
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Too bad we didn't know each other as children, Nornoriel. Sounds like we were into similar things. and it would have been a less

b2ap3_thumbnail_Black_Panther.JPGFor each of the Vanic virtues, I plan on writing something on how Vanic pagans can better incorporate these virtues into their daily lives, living Vanatru.  So with the sixth virtue, Wildness, here is a list of suggestions (not demands, I am not interested in telling people what to do) of activities to better express this virtue:

-If you do not have mobility challenges that would contraindicate this, go barefoot once in awhile.  Go outside barefoot.  Go barefoot in mud, go barefoot in the rain.  Doesn't have to be for long distances, can just be outside around where you live.  However, the more frequently you can go barefoot outside, the better it will connect you to the land, and the more primal parts of one's psyche.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    I recommend dancing naked in the woods. Or making love naked in the woods. (Or the desert, or the top of a mountain, or a tree,
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Dancing naked in the woods is fun.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Detail_of_antlered_figure_on_the_Gundestrup_Cauldron.jpgWe are animals, just as the other creatures of the world, but we are the only animals that have the ability to consciously and willfully deny our positions in the pattern, the only ones (as far as we know!) who consider themselves above “all that”. We train our children, those most connected to the truth, to deny their animal selves, to be “proper” and “civilized”, when all the world is calling us, begging us, to remember that we too used to dance in the mud, call out in the night, swing through the trees singing the songs of the birds, that we knew for a certainty that elves and dragons and unicorns lived in the forests and mountains (they still do, you just need eyes to see them!). Shake off the shackles of civilization and dance wild like a maenad or a troop of baboons. Sing to the moon and the sun without care for who is listening.

(Nicanthiel Hrafnhild in my book Visions of Vanaheim)

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The elaborately carved entrance stone and roof lintel at Newgrange are powerful symbols of humankind's ability to mark, measure and sanctify time - such as the upcoming Winter Solstice. These evocative images, however, pre-date the Celts by thousands of years, and like the dolmens and stone circles which many associate with 'Celts' or 'druids,' these do not form part of Celtic native culture. There are some Celtic legends which have become attached to some of these sites, which were built by people many centuries before, with undoubtedly different intentions in mind!

However, there are some ancient stones which can 'speak' to us in this day and age about the beliefs and practices of the early Celtic peoples. These are not 'native' stones either in a sense, but they do contain interesting and somewhat 'coded' information about the ancient Celts. I'm referring to stone inscriptions created during the Romano-Celtic period in many parts of Europe, including the Continent and Britain.

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Winter Solstice - A ritual invocation or the coolest band name ever!

A long, long, long time before the word "Solstice" was ever uttered, eons before the ancients looked upward at that shining orb in the sky and said "goddess" or "god", billions of years before humankind realized that some times were warmer and lighter and other times were colder and darker, this planet danced.

For roughly four and a half billion years, give or take a million, the earth has rocked forward and backward. Axial Tilt is the official term for it. Axial Tilt would also make a great name for a band and should I ever decide to get the band back together again, I think Axial Tilt will be the front-runner for the name.

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