Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
My Own Personal Jesus

On my beside table are a Loki action figure, a Goddess rosary…and a prayer card with an image of Jesus showing off his sacred heart.

 

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Kung Fu, Chi, Magic, and Fear

In my teens, I lived in a martial arts school. My brother Jay was the Sifu of Lale's Kung Fu Academy. I did not become a black belt because I would never take the oaths that went with high rank. Something in me knew Kung Fu wasn't my path for life, even though I was so fully immersed in the world of martial arts that I identified myself as a Taoist at the time. I learned the entire system, though, even the secrets that were supposed to be reserved for the black belts, including the Poison Hand. As the Sifu's sister, I was always available and would always be part of the family tradition even without taking any oaths, so when Jay started developing his own system, evolving a proto-MMA, I was his sparring partner. Formally, our family style was known as  Shaolin Sho Shu Kung Fu Way of the Beast.

Long before Jay started teaching, I had already learned Eastern-style meditation from the same place Jay learned it, our father, who had learned it in Japan. I learned to meditate before I learned  to read. Eastern-style meditation has been the foundation on which I built all my magical practices, even the heathen and pagan ones, because mental discipline, the ability to visualize, the ability to quiet my mind, and the ability to feel and direct the flow of chi are applicable to any type of magic from any system.

There is still a traditional school in California teaching the system of 7 Beasts Sho Shu Kung Fu as my brother learned it from Master Al Moore before Jay dreamed up his proto- Mixed Martial Arts style. I learned both the original system and the new system, and also saw every point along the way as Jay worked on it. The traditional seven beasts are Bear, Cobra, Crane, Dragon, Mantis, Mongoose, and Tiger. The three beasts I favored were Bear, Mantis, and Tiger, and those later became my three "skins" in the Bersarkrgangr martial arts system as well.

Having grown up with Kung Fu, my life has been shaped in many positive ways. Because of Kung Fu, I carry myself in a way that projects physical confidence, such that I've only experienced a handful of sexual attacks by strangers, all of which I escaped from physically unscathed, and I am hardly ever subject to harassment on the street or at a convention, no matter what I'm wearing (even a hobbit costume with a corset), which I'm given to understand is not the usual experience of women. Kung Fu provided me friends, physical exercise, the development of mind and body, the opportunity to enter organized competitions, and an outlook on life and self-discipline that has stayed with me even after I discovered that heathenry is my path. By the time I encountered other magical systems, I already possessed the basics for learning advanced magics. By the time I encountered the martial art of Bersarkrgangr, I already possessed fighting techniques to which I could apply to Bersarkrgangr, which is an entirely internal form and has no actual fighting moves of its own, so its practitioners must know other arts first.

Hanging on the wall of my family home / martial arts school when I was in high school was a quote that has been a touchstone in my life, and which I still live by today. It has been variously ascribed to Lao Tzu, Confucius, and Buddha. I have pushed myself to live up to this ideal all my life, and I believe it is completely compatible with a heathen outlook on life despite its Eastern origin. That quote is:

"He who conquers fear, conquers himself. He who conquers himself is the greatest of warriors. Never again walk in fear."

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_unasbc2_20140802-154336_1.pngMay the sky make the sunlight strong for you, may you rise up to the sky as the Eye of Ra, may you stand at that left Eye of Horus by means of which the speech of the gods is heard. Stand up at the head of the spirits as Horus stood at the head of the living; stand up at the head of the spirits as Osiris stood at the head of the spirits. – Pyramid Texts, utterance 523 (Faulkner) 

The Pyramid Texts are said to be the oldest extant religious texts in the world. Right off the bat, this makes them very difficult to understand, for they are full of more than 4,000-year old idioms, metaphors and jargon which are meaningless, at first glance, to us. The prayer above is one of the more accessible verses (“utterances”), but that is mostly because I have lifted it out of context and we read it with a modern slant. 

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What is CoS?

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I'd like to imagine that starting a coven is a completely organic process.  Perhaps a few friends get together and decide that it's time to form a coven or at least begin operating as one.  On the traditional side it's easy to imagine a Priestess and Priest recently elevated to Third Degree and hiving off to form a new coven, perhaps taking a few of their old coven mates with them in order to do so.  Both of those scenarios sound better then how our group started.  Our coven began with a question:  "who should we invite over for ritual?"  

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Meet the Minoans: Dionysos

In the interest of giving equal time to both sides of the Minoan pantheon, I’m going to alternate between goddesses and gods in the Meet the Minoans series. Up this time: Dionysos, god of passion and parties. At least, that’s how most modern folks see him, but he’s actually far more complicated than that. Let’s take a look.

First of all, the symbols usually associated with Dionysos tend to be, shall we say, less than civilized. He is often depicted dressed in leopard skins (or panther skins, the panther being the melanistic or black leopard), accompanied by leopards or riding in a chariot pulled by them. His staff is the thyrsos, a fennel stalk wound round with ivy and topped with a pine cone. If he’s not in the mood to wrap the ivy around the handle of the thyrsos, he wears it on his head as a crown. He hangs out in the wild woods and caves with satyrs and maenads who like to have wild sex and tear baby animals apart with their bare hands so they can eat them raw. Not exactly a city boy, if you see what I mean.

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This problem came to me from a pagan couple who are members of CoS: “The past year has been an horrendous one for my family with serious illness, financial worry, personal upsets and coping with an aging parent.  Apart from the ongoing health problems, my partner and I seem to have the problems sorted but thought we’d like to carrying out a thorough cleansing of ourselves on a psychic level.  Any suggestions?”  SBW (Wembley)

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  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    What is CoS? It isn't defined in this post or in your bio here on the site. Thanks!

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