Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

I know how much my fellow heathens and pagans get annoyed about things being called Christmas that are actually pagan. The upcoming conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21st 2020 will make the two planets appear as a single bright star to the naked eye, or like a double planet. Since it will be visible just after sundown it will be easier to view than some other sky occurrences, so people are excited about it. I've seen posts on the net saying the media calling it a Christmas star is wrong because it will be on the solstice, not on the 25th. The date of Christmas in the Bible is in lambing season, but the date established for the holiday by the Church as December 25 was supposed to be the solstice.

Christmas was originally established over the date of Roman Saturnalia, or on Sol Invictus (the Romans had multiple gods with overlapping areas of influence just like we heathens), which was on the winter soltice in accordance with the Julian calendar in use at the time. The winter solstice precesses, though. The Gregorian calendar reform re-established the drifted date of Christmas with the solstice. Eastern Orthodox who still follow the Julian calendar have their Christmas on January 7 according to our calendar, the Gregorian. Since the Gregorian calendar reform, the solstice precessed again. So the dates of Christmas and the solstice are off again, but they aren't supposed to be. Christmas was supposed to be on the solstice, so calling it a Christmas Star is not really wrong.
 
However, it is not going to look like a cross in the sky. It's going to look like a double planet, or if you have a telescope, like two planets close to each other.
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Minoan Winter Solstice: A Gathering of Posts

It's December already (how did that happen?) which means we're moving inexorably toward Winter Solstice where I live in the northern hemisphere. In Modern Minoan Paganism, our celebration of Midwinter involves several different layers of myths and practices. Since I've written about this festival a number of times already, I thought I would gather up all the posts here along with a little explanation.

First, a few introductory thoughts from the section about Winter Solstice in Labrys & Horns: "This festival has two layers in MMP, one that focuses on our Sun goddess Therasia and one that centers around Rhea and her Divine Child. In both cases, the central symbolism is that of birth and rebirth, of the old cycle ending and a new one beginning. Minoan civilization lasted for many centuries, and during that time religion changed and grew. Like the Egyptians, the Minoans tended to simply add new ideas, gods, and celebrations on top of what was already there instead of substituting the new ones and removing older ones. So over time, Minoan religion became a lot more complicated, with multiple reflections of the same ideas throughout the sacred year. We’ve included some of these nuanced layers in our sacred calendar because they have meaning for us as modern Pagan practitioners."

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Yule Ritual Plan

Planning a ritual in the time of Covid may require some adaptations. My kindred usually does winter holidays indoors, as illustrated by the picture above of last year's Yule, but this year we decided to do a bonfire outside in my back yard. Outdoor events are considered safer than indoor ones.

Ritual planning can require some forethought even if you've conducted a lot of rituals. Here are some ideas for an Asatru style Yule ritual, which other kinds of heathens, pagans, and polytheists might like to vik as well. (Asatruars sometimes semi-humorously say we are "viking" something, because that sounds so much cooler than "stealing.")

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Heimdall's Guardians

I had a conversation via the godphone in my head with my companion Tom the day after his military funeral. In life, he followed Heimdall, and in death he joined Heimdall's company. Heimdall is the Guardian of the Rainbow Bridge, and those who join him in the afterlife are likewise Guardians, but they guard living people here on the earthly plane of existence. Just to be clear, this blog is Gnosis Diary and you are reading gnosis right now, though bits of lore might also appear in this story.

I've had multiple conversations with Tom since his death and I already knew he had become my spiritual protector in his afterlife. I have made a habit of starting my day by sitting next to his shrine, lighting a candle, sharing a beverage with him and spending some quiet moments together, whether we speak or not. Often the cat joins us. Our little family of three, all together.

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Anthony, there are. We got one in the mail from our vet's office after our kitty Beni-Wan Cat-Obi died. It was clearly meant to be
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I'm not familiar with the corporate greeting cards you mentioned. Are there actually greeting cards for people who's pets have di

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This is one in a series of posts about finding the MMP deities in Minoan art. Find the whole series here.

Today we're going to focus on the Melissae. In MMP, we view them as bee-spirit goddesses who care for the spirits of the dead. As such, the bee and beehive are the most obvious symbols we associate with them. For instance, there's the famous Malia bee pendant:

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A very lovely friend gifted me with a jar full of eucalyptus bark.  A neighbour of hers had been clearing away some branches taken down in the wind and she rescued the bark from them.

Eucalyptus

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400 years ago today, the Mayflower dropped anchor in Cape Cod Bay, near what is now Provincetown. My 11th-great grandfather John Howland, a servant, was aboard, along with Elizabeth Tilley, whom he would eventually marry.

This is a source of academic curiosity to me, but certainly not a point of pride.

The establishment of Plymouth Colony was the beginning of an ongoing nightmare for indigenous people of the Northeast and beyond: a nightmare which has yet to end. I needn’t go into the details, but suffice to say that the vehement and intolerant flavor of Christianity the “Pilgrims” brought with them did not allow for the humanity of non-Christians: a position that persists today among many Americans.

400 years.

A year later, having been saved from starvation by the compassion and generosity of people whose land they were in the process of stealing, the surviving passengers of the Mayflower celebrated the first Thanksgiving. It was September, but we now celebrate our rosy-lensed version of this event in November.

400 years of murderous hell.

It’s hard to know how to end this.

Happy Thanksgiving?
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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    A Happy Harvest Home to you as well.

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