Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
An Introduction

White Mountain Druid Sanctuary (WMDS) is a Druid inspired Pagan site in Trout Lake, Washington. There aren’t many Pagan sites in the US and there are even fewer that have been created as a modern interpretation of ancient Indo-European customs and practices. WMDS was envisioned after years of study of ancient Celtic (Irish, Welsh, and Gaulish) archaeology, history, and religion and was built to honor the practices of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF), a Pagan church based on ancient Indo-European traditions expressed through public worship, study, and fellowship. WMDS was also built to re-imagine how the ancient peoples of Celtic Europe may have honored the world around them, the Land, and the Gods and Spirits.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Heroes We Need

As for many people, the trash fire that was 2016 has not left me with a lot of hope for 2017.  Emotionally I’m quite torn between rage, incredulity, and bone-crushing despair.  At this point it’s become quite clear that we cannot simply rely on “the establishment” to build a better world, or even to sustain what we have now.  While it’s tempting to simply throw up my hands in disgust and go find a nice cave to hide in, maybe in Canada somewhere, I’m one of the poor sods that lives in the US and has to deal with the fallout.  That’s terrifying.  What’s a pop culture witch to do in the face of a fascist threatening their way of life?  Why, call on Peggy Carter and Captain America, of course!

The next four years are likely to be an uphill battle unlike any that I have ever faced.  Never in my lifetime has such a critical public figure be so openly racist, misogynistic, transphobic, honestly the list just goes on forever.  The tacit approval given to bigots to be unspeakable to anyone they deem “other” by the President-elect scares the pants off of me.  I grew up with my mother telling me stories about how she grew up having to sit on the balcony of the movie theater and go in the “coloured” entrance.  I never thought I’d have to worry about something as awful as segregation or internment happening again, but that’s a very real fear right now.  I for one am not willing to “wait and see” if things go as appallingly as I fear.  I refuse to see this country become a dumpster of hate.  That makes it my job to do everything I can to make things better.  Nobody is going to do this for me.  That means I need the strength, stamina, and fortitude of a superhero just to keep going, let alone make things better.

“Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right. -Albus Dumbledore” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The way I see it we need the strength, courage, and honor of Captain America to make a stand against the theft of our rights and denials of our personhood.  We’ll need his determination to stand up against bullies and defend those that cannot defend themselves.  We will need his strategy and planning abilities to do the most good wherever we can.  However, even more than that we will need the indefatigability of Peggy Carter.  It is one thing to be the shining symbol of justice (Captain America) and another entirely to be the unwanted and unacknowledged hero (Peggy) that slogs tirelessly through adversity to save the world without so much as a thank you or to have their efforts claimed by others and continue anyway.  Every movement needs its figureheads, but it needs its individual, tireless workers even more.  We’re in this for the long haul and the tiny steps collectively taken by many individuals (all of us!) - sustained over time - are likely to make a far greater difference than a few grand gestures.  We need action from our fiercest warriors, our greatest speakers, our activists, and our workers, our volunteers, and our support crews.

I urge you to join me in casting the following spell to stand up to bullies and injustice in all its forms on January 20th. 

Spell to Stand Up to Bullies - No, You Move
(*underlined text in taken from the Captain America: Civil War comics)
This spell is written to call on Captain America and Peggy Carter because these characters mean a lot to me and embody the traits I know I’m going to need.  Please do rewrite it to use characters and references that have similar qualities and mean as much to you.  This spell could easily be done with other powerful characters: Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus from Rogue One, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings, or Hulkling and Wiccan from the Young Avengers - just to name a few.  The key is to use figures or characters that give you strength, determination and perseverance.

Ingredients: one small candle (standard or flameless), items representing Captain America and Peggy Carter, or whoever you are doing the working with (action figures, drawings or sigils all work - whatever works best for you), a blank piece of paper and a pen/pencil.

If you have a Captain America t-shirt and/or a fabulous red hat this is the time to wear it.  Consider running a Captain America movie or the Agent Carter TV series quietly in the background, cued to a scene of triumph.  You want to invoke your characters in a way that is meaningful to you and them.

Ground and center as usual.  Create sacred space according to your own practices.  Feel free to call on appropriate deities, ancestors, or other allies if you wish.

Place the items representing Cap and Peggy on your altar or temporary workspace.  Also put the blank piece of paper and pen there.

Take a deep breath and light the candle.

Say the following:
On this day and in this hour I pledge to stand up against bullies.
I vow to be part of the solution, never again the problem.
I call on Steven Grant Rogers - Captain America - to be with me and lend me his strength and sense of justice.
Captain, help me to stand up against bullies, to fight injustice, and protect that which is worth protecting. 
Give me the passion and determination to take necessary risks and make a difference.
I call on Margaret Carter - Peggy, Agent Carter - to be with me and lend me her strength, stamina, and clear sightedness.
Peggy, help me to stand up to bullies, to do what is right no matter how difficult or thankless.
Give me the stamina and will to keep fighting the good fight and to know my value. 

Grab your pen and paper and say:
Cap, Peggy, show me a sigil that will energize and sustain me in the fight against bullies - a sigil that will help me to do what is right, no matter how difficult.

Take a few minutes to allow the sigil to come to you and then draw it on the paper.  (If nothing comes to you in a minute or two just move on and don’t worry, it may come to you later - probably when you least expect it.)   You will be able to draw this sigil or carry it on you when you need it.

Hold your hands over your sigil (or the blank paper where you will draw it when it comes to you) and say:

“Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree besides the river of truth, and tell the whole world - 'No, you move.'"

Take a moment to thank Cap and Peggy (or whoever you worked with) for their help in your own words.

If you’ve called on any allies thank and dismiss them.  Then open your sacred space and ground - I recommend a nice piece of apple pie or coffee cake.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • aya ruje
    aya ruje says #
    A plant would be nice, yes. Energetic offerings are a good idea as well. I was reading another blog post where the lady did a 30
  • aya ruje
    aya ruje says #
    OMG lol i totally loved this post! you have a great writing style! And yes, 2016 was awful. On a global scale and even in my perso
  • Emily Carlin
    Emily Carlin says #
    I do daily incense or candle offerings for daily practice and leave food or flower offerings as a weekly thing - far less clean up
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Early last year I finished reading "The New Revelations" by Neale Donald Walsch. In it he wrote "You keep trying to solve the Wor
  • Emily Carlin
    Emily Carlin says #
    The next for years will be a spiritual workout for us all. All we can do is our best and nothing less.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Vesta & Painted Glass

Hello all, I wanted to share something really cool from my collection of Vesta artifacts with you. This is called a "magic lantern" glass slide. They were used from the 1800's 'til the early 1900's mostly for educational purposes. This one is of the Temple of Hercules in the Forum Boarium by the Tiber. Because of its circular shape, this temple was for a long time thought to be the Temple of Vesta.

In all likelihood, this temple served a dual purpose - Hercules and Vesta. That's how I deal with this temple in my book Brides of Rome: A Novel of the Vestal Virgins.  The Vestal priestesses had a spot near here from where they would gather water from the Tiber to make mola salsa.  I believe they would have wanted a functional temple close by, perhaps to bless the water.

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The anything goes altar...

An altar is a very personal thing and I firmly believe that unless you follow a strict tradition that sets the layout for you that you should ‘go with the flow’ with your altar and put things on it that your intuition guides you to.

An altar doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to be fancy, just a vase of flowers on a window sill is good enough to be a focal point for your altar.

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Why Charming of the Plough is Celebrated On More Than One Date

If you actually have a farm and use a real plough, it's traditional to bless the plough right before using it. The date that one would begin using one's plough would be different in different locations. 

Most pagan and heathen groups that celebrate Charming of the Plough on a specific date don't actually use a real plough for anything. Some American Asatru groups celebrate Charming of the Plough on the second day after Twelfth Night, which is January 3rd. Some celebrate it on February 2nd, which is otherwise called Candlemas / Groundhog Day / Imbolc / Imbolg / Brigid's Day. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Anthony, I love the Old Farmers' Almanac. I live in the Mojave Desert bioregion just south of Las Vegas, Nevada. We have different
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Back when I was still gardening I would use the "Old Farmer's Almanac" to determine planting times for vegetables. I think the ear

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Modern Minoan Paganism: Gathering together

As I've said repeatedly in interviews and in my books, Modern Minoan Paganism isn't a rules-and-regulations tradition but a broad pathway with room for many people to walk it, each in their own way.  That's great in terms of personal spirituality but not so great in terms of finding other people to practice with.

Pagans of all stripes are scattered far and wide in the modern world. Sure, there are larger clusters of us in metropolitan areas. But unless you follow one of the big traditions with standardized rules, regs, and rites (Wicca, Druidry, and various types of Norse Paganism, for instance) you may have a hard time finding others who want to do the same thing you're doing.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

After taking a couple of weeks off from blogging, and then being gently informed by my editor that those couple of weeks were actually six months, I realized that I’m burned out on gods.

I never came to Witchcraft for the gods, but mythological deities--you know, the ones whose stories you can read at your local public library--hold such a fundamental place in modern Paganism that they quickly seeped into my practice. Starhawk’s writings center on nature, the immanent Goddess, and the horned God; Reclaiming Witchcraft centers on gods from world mythology and folklore to the point that--and this is a very gentle, loving critique--we hold rituals in Redwood forests and on dramatic beaches and give only the most cursory nod to the abundant spirits around us, focusing instead on gods and stories from faraway cultures. I stepped back from my local ritual planning circle in part because we invoked gods even for business meetings, and I was tired of elaborate, theatrical invocations for deities I didn’t care about. Other Reclaimers find deep meaning in the gods they work with, and I’m happy for them. But I eventually had to admit that it wasn’t for me.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Asa! I didn'r realize how much I missed your writing until I stumbled across this post today (almost a month after you posted i
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I agree. The stories of the Gods and Goddesses come from patriarchal and warlike cultures for the most part. The idea that they ar
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I tried to do the eight Sabbats and the full moon ritual and they didn't click for me. I was just bored with it. Now I'm going w

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