Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

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A Prayer Whispered into the Threshold

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One Minute at the Altar

Last week I realized that yet again I'd set my standards for my daily practice too high. I couldn't sit at my altar without lighting the candles; I couldn't light the candles if the candles were burned out; I couldn't buy paraffin candles, I had to make my own out of beeswax; I couldn't make my own candles because the kitchen was a mess. This is what happens when you have high hopes and two small children. You sit around wishing you were doing spiritual work while they empty every drawer in the house for the fun of it.

I'm proud to say that I did end up making my own candles, but the compromise was that I did it in the filthy kitchen. If I'd taken the time to clean the kitchen beforehand, you see, then that would have taken up all my candlemaking time, and the next time I went to make candles, it would be filthy again. When I took my new candles to the altar, I thought, "But I can't light them without cleaning the altar off first. And cleansing the space! And refreshing the offerings! And performing invocations!" No, I told myself. I found that I had to give myself permission to do things imperfectly. I let myself cleanse the space. Then I lit the candles and annointed my Cernunnos statue. And that was it.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer says #
    I get email notifications for W&P blog posts, and been holding onto this one until I "had a minute" to really read and not just sk
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thanks for this! I appreciated it today, while feeling overwhelmed by a chain of to-dos.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
What is Hedge Witchcraft?

So what is hedge witchcraft? Hedge witchcraft is often seen today as a solitary pursuit, crafting one’s life in a magical way that reflects the talents and abilities of the practitioner. The term hedge witch was coined by the author Rae Beth in her book, Hedge Witch: A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft (1992). She took the term “hedge” from “hedge priest”, one who preached from the hedgerow, and who had no physical place for a congregation. A renegade, a solitary, a priest who didn’t follow the rules. This still appeals to many today, myself included.

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  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    You're most welcome
  • Lynn Hixson
    Lynn Hixson says #
    I really enjoyed this article. Thank you!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Elements

 

The Elements

The five elements are very important within Witchcraft.  Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit make up the elements.  Each one has its own unique energy and characteristics.

Earth

When I think of Earth I think about soil.  Soil contains and keeps all the minerals and moisture that all the plants on the planet need to live.  Earth is everything we are and everything we have comes from the element of Earth.  We are born of it and we return to it at the end of our lives.  Earth is the foundation so it is no wonder that the element of Earth is associated with abundance and prosperity.  Earth also stabilises and grounds us, think of the grounding exercise mentioned earlier – it involves not only trees that grow but the earth, soil and rock of the planet.

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Asatru FAQ: Religion or Folkway?

Frequently Asked Question: Why do some people say Asatru is a religion and some say it's a folkway? What's the difference and who is right?

My answer: There are heathens who practice only the religion, heathens who practice only the folkway, and heathens who practice both. There are also xians and secular communities who practice various of the folkways we heathens claim as heathen, and some pagans who practice them too, for example maypole customs. Whichever way you want to do your heathenry is fine.

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True Samhain & New Moon Oracle of Water

October 31st may be Halloween, but it is not Samhain. It is but an arbitrary date and day like any other in a modern, man-contrived and Vatican-imposed calendar. The cross-quarter days – the days halfway between the Solstices and Equinoxes – astronomically and astrologically occur at 15° of the sign of the season. Tomorrow, November 7, is when the real Samhain energy wells and flows, and when the floodgates between this world and the Other are truly open.

Water is the element that has all dominion over this powerful time. On this true Samhain day, the Sun reaches 15° of Scorpio and is joined by the Moon; the invisible, submerged New Moon. It is also Jupiter’s final moment at the critical degree of Scorpio before moving into its second home of Sagittarius. The Moon forms a favorable, creative trine to Neptune, that supreme ocean lord whose power is currently enhanced by retrograde motion his own home, shared with Jupiter, of Pisces. This Moon also creates opportunities being sextile to the chthonic water-dweller, and younger ruler of Scorpio, Pluto.

Water is my path and my deity. My way is the flow of the Daughter River to the Mother Sea, where the sweet, fresh waters that quench us mingle with the salty womb that bore us; the way of the falling rain, the fleeting morning dew and mists. I listen to the Water and I speak for Her.

This Samhain’s message and lesson comes from both the sweet waters and the salted.

The energy and power of Water reaches its darkest, deepest fathoms in the fixed water sign, the sign of upheaval and transformation, secrecy, deception and death. The salt of the benthic womb of She who is both Mother and Destroyer - Tiamat, Thalassa, Yemaya, Ran – gathers into eerie brine pools at the bottom of the oceans, into the most intense concentration of that essential substance. These dense pools are like submerged salt lakes, existing at the edge of comprehension where underwater shores form one of the most mind-bending between spaces on Earth.

It is from this realm that the first message comes, from the primeval matrix best represented by the dragon goddess and coiled serpent, Tiamat, the Sea Herself.

In the somewhat Lovecraftian, so-named Grimoire of Tiamat, Asenath Masen states that “…the salty waters of seas and oceans can hardly be considered a nourishing substance. They do not quench the thirst of living beings and they do not make the crops grow. The waters of Tiamat are dissolving, corroding, poisonous and deadly.”

While an understandable point in context, to an extent, this is not altogether true. There are some living things that do not have thirst to quench. There are some living things that are indeed nourished by the deep salt of the sea. The waters of Tiamat are not poisonous and deadly to everything.

Much life is to be found at the sweltering mouths of hydrothermal vents, as well as at the shores of the staggeringly saline brine pools, even though they can be toxic to some marine animals. These few creatures to whom they are not toxic, however, exist and are called extremophiles. It is from these submarine shores and these extreme creatures that we receive a powerful message…

You are all living in extreme times. Many of you are living in extreme conditions, be they literal, physical surroundings and circumstances, or intense, extreme emotional states. These are likely the most burdensome and noxious emotions that are running highest and burning you out – fear, anger, hatred, depression, anxiety, regret, sorrow, loneliness, and all manner of loss that is the result of unwanted change.

But not all that is corroded and dissolved by change need be mourned or missed. There is much to be learned and to be gained from extreme states. Some of you will be poisoned and defeated by them and others will grow through them.

You must learn to adapt and to navigate the harshest conditions with confidence and self-control. Be present in all that you are experiencing and feeling, and find the balance between embracing and understanding those feelings - even the most painful and uncomfortable ones - and thriving in spite of them. Or because of them.

Rise above and beyond what you think simple society or any pretender is expecting of you. Look at yourself and ask what you expect of yourself, and why, and learn to be true no matter who may end up judging or shunning you. Know that those who do so are not worth your time as long as you stand in truth.

Transformation has nothing to do pleasing others, or with lowering or weakening yourself. It is for, by, through and because of the Self. Transformation is a choice, but one that may be made for you if you don’t find that balance.



"Rhinemaidens" detail, by Maxfield Parrish



But there is a light overhead. There is peace and passionate renewal to be found after enduring and rising above the turmoil. In the second part of the message, the fresh rivers, lakes and the falling autumn rains ask us to then surrender, to simply…

Rise up.
Let go.
Breathe.
Flow.


You have been like the monkey who got his open, slender hand into the narrow trap but will not release the petty prize in his closed fist which is now too large to let him escape. It is time to release your death grip on all that is trapping you in your pain, your sorrow, your anger, your illusion, your delusion. Give up the game. Relax and let go.

Sometimes your best laid plans and intentions are simply not meant to be. It is time to drift with the currents of life and trust that the cosmic rivers will carry you to safer, sweeter shores.

Perhaps you have been obsessing over everyone else and what they are doing. You may be worrying about everyone but yourself. You cannot control them. You can only control yourself, your reactions and your choices.

Soon you will heal and you will dwell by the waters of life that glisten in the Sun, no longer toiling or sorrowing deep in the stinging, extreme crucibles of Fire and Water that are forming you into the diamond you are meant to become.


May you bravely dive down deep into the sea of transformation during this Samhain time, and in so doing rise up and connect to your higher self and the higher truths that are ever reflected in and carried by the primordial, cosmic waters that flow all around us here on Earth.


Cross-posted to The Oracle of Water, with additional images -

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Heathen Visibility Project Does Halloween

I was invited to do a community booth for the Halloween Spooktacular sponsored by Haven Craft, an interfaith nonprofit organization in Las Vegas. It was on short notice, so I had to try to pull it off with just what I already had, and I decided on a Take a Photo with a Viking booth for the Heathen Visibility Project. I already had Viking garb.

I also already had a battle axe, which was not sharp. I asked the event organizer Melissa if heathens attending as Viking garb performers could have traditional weapons, and got the go-ahead on that before loading it into my truck. This axe was traded to me by its maker, Tony Mortimer-Kalama, under the Steel for Steel local custom. I posed for lots of photos holding my axe, but this is the only one taken with my own camera. Most of the other photos in which I'm posing with the axe are pictures in which children in Halloween costumes are getting their pictures taken with a Viking by their parents. Lots of kids wanted a picture, and I am wearing heathen symbols on my garb, so the booth was successful in furthering heathen visibility.

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