Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A question that can come up when students first learn that heathens in historical times had divorce and that the wife was the key holder in most times in heathen history (with some notable exceptions) is: what happened after that? If the woman was the property owner did the man lose his status after divorce?

That's a good question, and the answer is sometimes, but not usually. Social status in the ancient world depended on a lot more besides being landed or not. A man would only lose status when he left his wife's property if the man's status was tied to the estate, which was not always the case. That had to do with how much property was involved in the marriage, which was more an issue with the upper classes, and whether there were any noble titles involved, also only an issue for the upper classes, and only in some time periods.

An example would be if the property on which they lived were exclusively her inheritance and getting divorced meant he had to stop being a land holding lord and go join some other lord's house carls. But that would have been a really small percentage of people. It would not affect most people.

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The  Minoan Menagerie Part 3: Animals of the Sea

This is the third in a series about animals in Minoan art. Part 1: Animals of the Land and Part 2: Animals of the Sky complete the exploration of the three realms, though we will still have a look at mythical critters in Part 4 (coming up next week).

Of the three realms of land, sky, and sea, the sea is perhaps the most prevalent in Minoan culture and art. Crete is, after all, an island, and the Minoans developed their great wealth as seafaring traders. So it's understandable that the waters of the Mediterranean, and the creatures that live in those waters, would feature in Minoan art in a major way.

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The Minoan Menagerie Part 2: Animals of the Sky

Last time, we looked at some of the land animals the Minoans depicted in their art: cattle, monkeys, lions, and so on. Today, we're going to explore the Minoans' images of animals of the sky, the domain of our Sun goddess Therasia - so, essentially, birds, though I think bees also count.

Sometimes it's easy to tell which type of bird is being shown. For instance, that's a swallow flying by some lilies in the image at the top, which is a segment of the Spring fresco from Akrotiri. Here's the whole thing, with quite a few swallows:

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Hedgewitch? Priestess or Priest? You decide.

You will often hear the terms Priest and Priestess used within Wiccan traditions. In Wicca it is often noted that each practitioner is a priest or priestess of their tradition, after studying and learning its ways. This is a way of saying that within the tradition, we have no need of an intermediary between ourselves and the divine, and so we can all become a priest or priestess of our path.

In some initiatory traditions, one can only call themselves a priest or priestess after having obtained certain levels of training with the Craft. Hedgewitches or Solitary Wiccans, alongside many other solitary forms of Witchcraft, train themselves, sometimes with the guidance of a teacher or a group and then working on their own, with all due diligence in research and practice. Initiation comes directly from the gods and goddesses themselves, not through another person. Should you wish to refer yourself as a priest or priestess, I would highly recommend that you study and practice for quite some time before taking on that title, as it is not something to be taken lightly. Modern Wicca and Witchcraft often uses the length of time as a year and a day of study before certain levels (degrees in coven training) can be obtained, and this can be a good rule of thumb to go by. You have to truly live your religion or spiritual path, each and every day, in order to really understand and come to know it inside and out. Otherwise, you are just paying it lip service, and any titles or roles that you decide to take on can be hollow and meaningless if the work is not put in wholeheartedly.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Picking from a List with Trained Intuition

When we choose a thing from a set of things as part of ritual or fortune telling, such as pulling a rune or tarot card, we are practicing three different skills. The one everyone knows about consciously is that we are practicing the application of knowledge we learned about that system. For example, if we work with the Elder Futhark we might associate Ehwo with a horse. There are two other skills that reading runes teaches us. One applies to all rune readings, like knowledge-based interpretations do, and the other only applies to picking from a set.

The second skill is psychometry. When we either cast runes or pull a rune we get psychic impressions off of the runes by touching them. This skill may generalize to other systems. For example, a practiced rune reader may get impressions off of tarot cards too, even without knowing anything about the tarot system. A practiced rune reader may even get impressions from objects that are not fortune telling lots, or from places. For example, decades ago when I visited England I got psychic impressions from the henge at Avebury and from an old church, which I wrote about in some of my earliest posts on this blog. My trained ability to get impressions from my rune stones generalized to getting impressions from a standing stone circle and other buildings.

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The Minoan Menagerie Part 1: Animals of the Land

Minoan art is inspiring, full of movement and color. Minoan artists depicted the natural world just as often as they showed sacred or ritual scenes. And the art is full of animals, usually depicted with enough accuracy that we can identify the exact species. While some animals in Minoan art are associated with specific deities and act as part of their iconography, others have no sacred associations that we're aware of (yet). So here, we're just going to look at the animals themselves, without referencing the iconography. The art is inspiring enough as it is, if you ask me.

I'm going to organize our exploration of Minoan animals based on the threefold division of land, sea, and sky that prevails in Modern Minoan Paganism and that we think was important to the ancient Minoans. The three realms correspond to our three mother goddesses; the land is the domain of our Earth Mother goddess Rhea.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Linear A Conundrum

One of the reasons we don't call Modern Minoan Paganism (MMP) a reconstructionist tradition is that we don't have any texts from Minoan times that we can read to learn how the people of ancient Crete worshiped. Reference texts are a fundamental part of the reconstruction process in many traditions. Why don't we have that resource for MMP?

The Minoans were a literate people; we just can't read what they wrote.

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