Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
When Guided Meditation Goes Wrong

I visualize so strongly that a guided meditation can get out of hand if I don’t discuss and plan what’s going to happen in advance. Artists, writers, and theoretical physicists are all types of people who visualize and dream in a fashion that feels real. It’s a sign of high intelligence, and it can be great when one is controlling one’s own visions, while trying to write a novel for example, but even a simple guided meditation intended for relaxation can go wrong if I’m picturing things from my own experience that are different to me than to the person leading the meditation. The following quote from my memoir was one such incident.

The woman leading the meditation had me picture a beach. To her, a beach probably meant some tropical vacation spot, but to me, having grown up in Sonoma on the north coast of California, a beach was a place where waves crashed three stories high against jagged black rocks.

The image at the top of this post is Stillwater Cove on the Sonoma coast. It doesn't look very still, does it? That is as still as it gets on the Sonoma coast.


Quote from Greater Than the Sum of My Parts:
 

     “You’re going to a peaceful, beautiful place, perhaps in the woods,” she said.

     I was transported to Elfland, the redwood forest of my initiation.  Light slanted between the boles of the great trees, illuminating the swimming dust motes.  The light dappled the tiny leaves of a hazel nut bush, swept across spiders’ webs and spotlighted the tunneled brush at the entrance to the rabbit run.  I smelled the redwood dust, and the tang of the sea on the wind.

     But Sandi had not finished her sentence.  “Or the beach.”

     I was wrenched away from the grove, catapulted through the air and deposited on a deserted section of beach.  The strong wind off the sea blew my hair into my face despite my braid, and the light cloth of my pants buzzed in the gale like the reed of a flute.  The crash of the surf, the sea wrack lying on the wet sand, the smell of salt and fish and seaweed, the white glare off the hot sand under my feet, the infinite blue of the unbroken horizon, the crying of the circling gulls, the V-patterns in the wet sand from the suck of the undertow.  So, the beach.  I liked the forest better, but the beach was alright, if cold.  I had never liked the way the wind off the ocean made the warmest day feel cold.

     “You wade out into the water,” said Sandi.

     In my vision, my feet moved of their own accord, taking me into the freezing water of the Pacific, gritty with churning sand.  The waves surged around my knees, and I dug my toes into the sand to keep my footing.

     “You will be cleansed in the pure water,” said Sandi.  “It’s up to your knees now.  Now your hands.  Now your hips.”

     Fear came over me.  One did not go out into the ocean without a wetsuit, not at any time of year.  Nobody but the surfers ever went in above the knees, and I was no surfer.  At pagan gatherings I had seen men… swim out into a bay stark naked to push the offering ship past the breakers, but I was no SEAL either.  I wanted out.  I wanted to get back on the dry sand and get out of these wet pants and warm myself in the sun as best I could.

     “Now your waist,” continued Sandi.  “Now it’s up to your chest.”

     I thought desperately at her, Sandi get me out of here.  Sandi get me out of here.  But I could not speak.  Fear silence was on me.

     “Now the pure, cleansing water is up to your neck.  We’ll go on when you’re ready.”

     I projected desperately at her, Sandi get me out of here, Sandi get me out of here, but I was never a particularly good projecting telepath, and my powers had deserted me when I became depressed, and anyway Sandi would have had to be a receiving telepath to hear me.  Clearly she was not.  I did not really expect her to hear me, actually; it was simply the only means of communication left to me as I sat rigid in the grip of the silence, a long shot though it was.

     “Are you ready to continue?” Sandi asked.

     I shook my head wildly.  It was all I could do.  I could not speak.

     But Sandi did not understand that I wanted to stop the whole thing.  She said, “We’ll wait until you’re ready.  The water will cleanse away your fear, wash it away from you, and you will be at peace.”

     I realized I was going to stand there neck deep in the surf until I agreed to go on.  There was no way out of this but forwards.  I was going to drown.  No, I could hold my breath.

     Sandi asked, “Are you ready to continue?”

     This time, defeated in my attempts to communicate, I nodded.

     “The water passes over your head.  It washes away your fear.  You are one with the peaceful water.”

     It was not washing away my fear.  I hoped Sandi would get me back out before I ran out of breath....

     Finally Sandi said, “Now the water is receding.  Past your neck, past your shoulders, past your waist, past your knees, past your ankles.  Now it is gone, taking your fears with it.  Open your eyes and wake up.”

     I opened my eyes.  I was surprised they were dry.  Did the silence even extend to preventing me from using tears as a signal?  I had been sure I was crying.”
 

During the guided meditation, I could not break away from it or say I wanted to stop because I was only given the opportunity to choose to pause or go forwards, not stop the scenario. The difference between guided meditation is hypnosis is a word and a license. Although Sandi called this guided meditation, she was actually a licensed therapist, so the word hypnosis could have applied also. (She has since retired and moved to another country.) People who are "high hypnotizers," that is, who drop into trance states easily, can be unable to get out of a situation like that without a safeword. I have yet to ever see a meditation leader, ritual leader, or hypnotist offer participants the opportunity to get out of a meditation or hypnosis session once it starts, so, after that experience, I only meditate alone.

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  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    Telepathy didn't work? Go figure.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thank you! Yes, we did discuss it afterwards.
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    You are right, there are many ways that a guided meditation can go wrong. For us who sometimes guide meditations its easy to over

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_nametag.jpgMy suitcase still isn't unpacked. My brain isn't, either. Several other writers have already blogged about this past weekend's Pantheacon and eloquently so. I needed more time. 

First of all, it was great. I spent most of my party time in the Black Rose Witchcraft Suite (thank you Devin Hunter for the laughs at night and the headaches in the mornings) and my worky-work time attending rituals, classes on rituals, and discussions on issues surrounding racism in our beloved community. I met new friends in those rituals (#heygwion) and even sat on a panel, myself! "Turning the Wheel: Nurturing Young Leaders and Embracing Change" led by Thorn Coyle. It was more than an honor to be up there with such incredible minds. 

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