Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

In previous blogs, we've explored some of the basic aspects of Celtic cosmology - the existence of a sacred Otherworld (or worlds), probably conceived of as being connected with the Upper World and Lower World (as in many shamanic or traditional cultures). The inhabitants of those worlds - the Gods and Goddesses - known in Ireland as the Aes Síde or Tuatha Dé Danann - embodied a wide range of powers and attributes, depending upon location, era, and many other temporal and cultural factors.

What do we know, if anything, about how the ancient Celts constructed or performed ritual? This is quite a hot topic, of course - many will say 'We don't know anything at all, and to try and make any sort of theory or assumption is folly or wishful thinking." This attitude can be found both in academic circles and amongst practitioners, oddly enough, and in some cases this negative (and unfounded) stance can be used to either assert power over others, or serve as an obstacle to tackling complicated issues (academic or otherwise).

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  • Alan O ' Domhnaill
    Alan O ' Domhnaill says #
    I always thought climbing up the Paps of Anu , stripping bare, covering myself with mud and howling at the moon would do it. Now

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Ritual Elements Air - Re-enchanting The Air

I've recently finished co-teaching a six week class titled "Elements of Magic". It is one of the core pieces of magic taught in the Reclaiming Tradition. I use the term "core" rather than "beginning" or "basic" for specific reasons. You see, I hold that there's nothing particularly basic about this exploration and I find myself returning to it year after year as a teacher and, more importantly, as a student. It's the foundation of my personal practice, the actual ground on which I base my interactions within the temporal world.

So over the next few articles, I'm going to dive into, dig around under, imagine and re-imagine my relationships with these core forces that affect us all.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    I am happy to take you there. Let's go for a hike there one of these weekends!
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Yes! And then let's plan a time to jump out of an airplane. I love jumping out of airplanes!
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    YES! I love that place near the Golden Gate Bridge and I also think that there should be a picture of you falling through the sky.
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you K.
  • K. Armand
    K. Armand says #
    This is SO beautiful and SO inspiring. Thank you for this.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Light In My Heart

Continuing my story of my personal journey on my heathen path, when I was 30 I was finally mentally and physically healthy.  When the goddess Freya had claimed me for her Priestess when I was 20, she had appeared in her solar aspect. In my mind's eye, she always appeared as the white-hot light of the sun. That Light is all-love and all-life. Until I became healthy enough to reach it again, I had only experienced that Light once, during my initiation in 1989. Ten years later, I was ready to bring it inside myself.

Through writing fiction, I came up with the idea of picturing the Light and bringing that Light into my heart. After a character in my story did it, I did it, too. I pictured my hand, reached into the Light, and pushed it into my heart.

The last quote from my memoir, Greater Than the Sum of My Parts:
 

     “I mentally reached out a hand into that shining consciousness of life-fire.  I reached.  I pulled. The light was within me.

     A grin spread over my face and I laughed out loud.  It worked!  The Light of my initiation all those years ago had been there all along.  I only needed a whole mind to reach it." 
 

That Light has been with me ever since. It is ecstatic. It's always there, pouring from my heart. Anytime I wish, I can temporarily fill my body with that light and experience the sun body, a state of religious ecstasy. Then I let the light go again, and Freya's Light radiates out to the world through me.

That’s the end of the story in my memoir; it ends with becoming healthy and whole and a vehicle for the light of my Goddess. But as with all stories that don’t end with death, life went on after the happily-ever-after. I've lived 16 more years since then, and I'll continue to share the story of my journey here in Gnosis Diary.

Freya is the Light in my heart.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Two Worlds of the Minoans

For us modern folks, it can be hard to understand the worldview of ancient people. They didn't know about outer space or the heliocentric view of the solar system, but they did their best to understand the world given the information they had at hand. In fact, the pre-Indo-European inhabitants of Europe didn't even think of the sky as a separate realm the way Indo-European cultures did. So what does that mean in terms of the way the Minoans viewed the cosmos?

You're probably familiar with the three-worlds cosmos that many pre-Christian Indo-European cultures had. The Norse version is especially popular, given that J.R.R. Tolkien adapted it for his own imaginary world. In the three-worlds view, the 'top' or upper world is the sky; the middle realm is the Earth and the area right above it where people and animals live; and the lower realm is beneath the Earth - the Underworld.

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  • Bruno
    Bruno says #
    I´m pretty sure that it is comparable. Like in egyptian mythology, symbols are not what they seem to be...
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    For more information about the timing of Minoan civilization versus Greek civilization (and other cultures worldwide) please see t
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    The worldview to which I am referring predates the Orphics by a good millennium (the Minoans flourished ca 2500-1450 BCE) and is n
  • Bruno
    Bruno says #
    "The upper half of the sphere (...) is the daylight world we all share" This is not quite correct. Like in the Allegory of the Cav
Visions at Glastonbury's Tor and Abby Green

As I stepped off the bus in Glastonbury, England I suddenly became a monk once more, dressed in a long brown robe with a swinging rope belt, which surprised me. I'd had a recurring dream for eons where I would be running into a castle shouting, "Morgause! Morgause! And always assumed I was a woman, goddess type during those times. As I climbed the Tor I saw that there had once been a circular pathway to the ruins at the top. As my spirit felt the telluric energy of this upflow vortex I immediately connected with Archangel Michael who had appeared to me once before in Jerusalem. I could feel the connection between Heaven and Earth and sat to meditate to enjoy the tremendous uplifting spiritual power. I then walked to the Abbey itself. It was mostly in ruins, but this Glastonbury site had been sacred Goddess land from before Neolithic times, so I should be able to feel, hear, and know past realities, I thought, as I walked about, feeling ‘present’. As I stepped out of the Abbey arches and walked toward the central green, I saw a marker that stated, “King Arthur lies buried here.” I immediately felt like kneeling down, and as I did so I had a vision. I knew without a doubt that it was King Arthur. He had a broad face with a dark complexion. A mass of curly brown hair framed his face and the crown on his head held three lion-like red dragons. His cloak was a gray, heavy, linen-type weave. Then suddenly I began to sob; and soon realized that they were not my tears that I was releasing. They were Guinevere’s! She had at some point left them here.

Later, I discovered that a grave had been found under an ancient oak at this spot in 1191 A.D. In the grave, a small cross was found that stated King Arthur and his second wife, Guinevere, lay buried here on the Isle of Avalon. In 1278, King Edward I reburied the skeletons in a black marble tomb that survived until 1539 when King Henry VIII, bent on destroying monasteries and abbeys, also destroyed this abbey and many of the tombs. The Arthurian era was a pivotal one on Earth; there was a war going on between the Light and dark forces then! Arthur and his valiant legions of Light, tried their best, but it was not good enough. The darkness eventually prevailed for many centuries.

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Why Vesta or Pagan-Based Relationship Help Has a Lot to Offer

Although my couples mediation practice is first and foremost a secular one, since publishing my New Vesta book series I have also been providing Vesta-based relationship help to those who have specifically sought me out for that service (it bugs me when a practitioner sneakily slips their own spirituality into what is assumed to be a secular appointment).

To be honest, I was initially worried that “coming out” pagan would negatively impact my private practice; however, my fears have proven unfounded.  Business is as good as ever and I’ve had fantastic feedback from people who identify with my story and worldview.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_rain.jpgIn the eight years that I've been actively involved with the Vanatru movement, I've met a number of Vanatruar, and in talking with other Vanatruar, I've found we have a lot of diversity of experience and practice - what Vanatru is, will differ from practitioner to practitioner. With that said, one of the things that does seem fairly common amongst the Vanatruar I've met (though this certainly does NOT apply to all of us) is a lack of formality.  The Powers of Nature, Gods of the World tend to attract... well, practical, pragmatic followers.  We tend to be very down-to-earth people, even those of us who are creative and eccentric in some way (as many of us are, myself included).

Over the last few years devotional polytheism has become more common, and I myself identify as a devotional polytheist.  However, there has been an expectation over the last while that the "proper" way to honor the gods is to be on your knees praying several times a day, with flowery adorations.  I don't do this. I know very few Vanatruar who do this.  I do know a few Vanatruar who do not do formal devotion and have expressed guilt and the feeling that they're "doing it wrong" because this has been presented as the standard for polytheistic practice by a number of people, including some from the Northern Tradition.

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  • Molly Khan
    Molly Khan says #
    I find the wide variety of expressions of piety in devotional polytheism as a whole, and Vanatru specifically, to be fascinating.
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    yeah

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