Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Happy Family Spell

Happy family spell

 

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In sickness and in health: Plague thinking in Minoan Crete

The coronavirus pandemic seems to weasel its way into every conversation these days. So I've been thinking about how the ancient Minoans might have dealt with something like this. Communicable disease was a big problem in the ancient world, partly because they didn't have the drugs and medical care that we do, and partly because they didn't always understand how disease spread.

The Minoans were apparently well known for their medical knowledge. The London Medical Papyrus, an Egyptian document, includes two Minoan incantations against disease. These would have been combined with herbal or other therapy, since illness was considered to have a magical or spiritual component as well as a physical one.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Who is Ostara?

In planning my kindred’s Ostara ritual for this year, which we canceled, I ran across an interesting association with similarly named dawn goddesses. The goddess Ostara may be older than we think.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember Deep Space 9 sufficiently to get the analogy.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Anthony, glad it was clear!
Is This the Time to Work on Your Spirituality?

The world has the novel coronavirus. The pandemic is serious, spreading, and causing major disruption.

Many of us have been sent home from work, hopefully to work remotely but, for the less fortunate, simply to tough it out. And in our non-work time, we have hours and hours of empty space we might otherwise fill with gatherings, events, outings and activities.

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  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz says #
    Brother speaks my mind. Seeking opportunities in crisis is the essence of progress. There will always be setbacks. Letting them p
Heathen Ancestral Wisdom to Cope With Quarantine

From mundane to woo, here’s some simple advice on what to do.

#1: Honor Your Ancestors

We’re all here because our ancestors pulled through much worse times than this.Their strength, pragmatism and a good deal of mystical knowledge are all still available to us. At this time, it’s a good idea to thank them and ask for their support. Honoring the ancestors is a core part of many polytheist paths, but it may be new to you. It doesn’t take much: raise a glass to them, say a prayer, talk to an old family photo. Keep them in your thoughts. b2ap3_thumbnail_othala_20200318-204744_1.jpg

The rune Othala (pictured at left) can really help with this,
through meditation or burning a candle inscribed with it, dedicated to the ancestors. Family is important right now. Even if you haven’t always seen eye to eye, rise above it: these aren’t ordinary times, and you need each other, but don’t tolerate—or inadvertently cause— abuse. Check in with your relatives, especially more vulnerable older folk you may not have seen for awhile. It’s also a good time to sit down and listen to those oft-ignored elders, learning the family stories, and hearing how they learned to cope.

Do this now, because you may not get another chance. While this is always true, current events just underscore this.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Hand Washing Prayer

Let me begin by giving credit where credit is due: after a recent idea on the ADF Bardic Guild, I decide to join in and write a handwashing prayer. What is a handwashing prayer, you might ask? It is a prayer to be recited for the 20 seconds that one is supposed to spend washing one's hands. One should always wash their hands at the appropriate time. Now, in a time of pandemic, it is more important than ever to wash one's hands and maintain cleanliness whenever possible.

How does one go about learning this prayer while washing one's hands? I use an index card: primitive, low-tech, easily transportable, even recyclable. I put the index card next to the sink and then I repeat the prayer as I wash my hands.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Snake Patrick Day

Happy Celtic Heritage Day!

Many Asatruars and other heathens and pagans don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day because it's a Christian holiday. As practiced in the USA, though, it's more a secular celebration of Irish culture, and of our idea of Irish culture (green beer is an American thing.) At this time of year, many of us are still circulating that story that the legend of Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland was really about driving out the Druids.

This is an interesting example about how mythology changes over time to suit the culture telling the story. For us modern people, we want to see the snakes as a symbol of something else because we don't need a magical explanation for why they are no snakes on that island. Our bedrock belief is in science. When we read a myth that purports to explain why a thing in nature is the way it is, we automatically read it as a metaphor, because we just don't think that way.

For the medieval people who ascribed the snake story to "St. Patrick" it was a story about a miracle, about a man wielding godlike magical powers, which somehow proved he must be channeling the power of a particular god. Who got to be called saint and who was instead called witch for demonstrating the same supernatural magic is a study in sociology.

Image: photo of me in a parade.

Image caption: I and other heathens parade with a Renfaire guild every year. This is about visibility, although I started doing this before I formalized the Heathen Visibility Project. As we march down the street with our hammers on, the message is: "See us. We are here; we are proud; we are part of this community."

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I associate St. Patrick's day with corn beef, cabbage and potatoes. Since reading books on Voodoo I also associate St. Patrick wi

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