Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

 

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!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Lord of the Monsters

Continuing my story of my early experiences that led me to my heathen path, I encountered a heathen god in my childhood, but I did not know who he was. I’m not sure what age I was at the time, but in my dream, I saw the town outside my window as having almond orchards like Ripon, California, where I lived until age 9.

The following is a quote from my memoir, Greater Than the Sum of My Parts: My Triumph Over Dissociative Identity Disorder. DID is a defense mechanism developed by children who were sexually abused before age 7, according to the latest edition of the DSM. My memoir is about how I recovered from that. This is relevant because it’s the reason I was more afraid of my father and brother than the goblins of the dreamtime when I encountered the monsters.

“One night, I saw goblins, small dark shapes coming up through the heat vent in the floor.  I saw their outlines distinctly, as if I were wearing my glasses, though of course I took them off to sleep.  I spoke to them in my mind, thinking at them as I had thought at the boy at school. 

“There’s no sport here.  I glad you came, though.  Let’s go out and have some fun.  Let’s make some mischief.” 

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thank you!
  • Brenda Caudill
    Brenda Caudill says #
    You are beautiful and I am glad you had Loki to help you.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thank you!
  • wayne bates
    wayne bates says #
    You are a example of courage that we should applaud , not mock . If they have choosen to do so where you cannot see it , it just
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thank you! I've gotten secondhand reports of internet trolls mocking me in groups I'm not a member of where I can't see them, bu

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

In some of the earlier posts we began an exploration of key questions like 'What is a Celt?' and 'How do we know what we think we know?' No doubt we will return to these themes as we go along, but for now, let's delve into some primal thinking about what it may have meant to 'be living as' a Pagan Celt, and how that world view is relevant in this day and age.

From the evidence of archaeology and native writing, it is clear that for many (if not all) of the ancient Celts, their religion was polytheistic (having many gods and goddesses) and probably also animistic (perceiving the living presence of the divine in the natural world). This cultural tradition is important to keep in mind if people are promoting divergent views, such as claiming the Celts worshipped 'The Goddess' (a resonant but quite modern path) or the Wiccan 'Lord and Lady.' (ditto)

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Sonoma, California

Continuing the story of my early experiences that led me to my heathen path, when I was 9, my family moved from Ripon, California, “Almond Capitol of the World,” to Sonoma, California, the wine country. By then I had really connected with the desert and its natural ways, but I was happy to move to a place where one did not have to belong to a Christian church to have any friends at school. My Fifth Grade teacher was openly Buddhist, and that really impressed me. She wasn’t a Christian and they let her teach children!

When I was done with all my schoolwork, she let me read real books. My favorite was a version of Robin Hood. The other children were reading middle readers, and I was reading in Middle English. The public school system which segments children by age instead of ability was not serving me well, but being allowed to read real books instead of just stare out the window when I was done with the busywork was wonderful. Going to school in a rural area back then did have one big advantage over today’s modern, urban schools: I was allowed to fight back against bullies and it didn’t ruin my life.

One of the life experiences I had that was later used as evidence that I was born berserker and qualified to learn the martial art of Bersarkrgangr was a playground scuffle during my Fifth Grade year. The following is a quote from my autobiography, Greater Than the Sum of My Parts, which I wrote when I was 30 and later published in 2011.

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When I lean over the chasm of myself,

It seems my God is dark,

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On Frigga

 

She is not the most beautiful woman at the court of the Aesir, nor the most glamorous, not the most vivacious and charming. Those roles are held by Freyja, said by some to be Her rival, by others to be another, earlier, side of Herself. (In mainland Germany, there was no Frigga and no Freyja—only Frija, apparently an amalgam of the two goddesses.) There is no contest: Freyja is the star who draws all eyes in Asgard.

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Growing Up Among Almond Trees

Almond Orchards

As a child in Ripon, California, I lived surrounded by almond orchards. The trees grew in neat, straight rows, in accordance with human desires rather than their own. The only time the trees were able to have a little freedom was during the annual Almond Blossom Festival, when they dropped pinkish-white petals all over the ground. Almond trees lined the main street of town, and the petals collected in drifts on the street, and blew through the air during the parade. I could sense the trees' exuberant happiness at that time of year.

The orchards were not just full of trees, though. They were also full of angry honeybees who lived to sting humans. I understood why. They were being kept as slaves, and forced to live a migrant lifestyle that did not suit them. Commercial beehives were moved around from one orchard to another, disorienting the bees. Although I could sense why they hated human beings, understanding them did not make me any less afraid of them. I was allergic and would pass out if I was stung, and they would chase humans, and they terrified me. 40 years later, I'm free of that fear, though the cost was too high-- I'll write about that when I catch up to the present day.

The Tradition of Hospitality

My mom's parents, who immigrated from Austria and were native speakers of Plattdeutsch, were nominally Christian but observed a number of traditional Germanic customs that no doubt originated in heathen times. Some of these customs had a coat of Christian paint on old heathen wood. There is an old tradition known among heathens today as Guestright. That is taking in transients, and goes back to the days when there was no such thing as a hotel, and back to a place where sleeping outdoors would surely mean freezing to death, so the custom had a practical function in society. It also had heathen religious overtones, because there were many stories of Odin wandering in disguise, and the traveler who came to the door might be Odin, and one had best not turn him away and anger him. My grandfather observed a custom of inviting a "bum" home for Christmas Eve every year. Although it was tied to a Christian holiday, that very holiday is also an old pagan and heathen holiday, Yule. The family claimed this tradition was about charity, but it was transparently really about honoring the wanderer. If it had been about charity, they could have invited a poor person from the local area, or made a donation. The custom was very clear that the person invited to the feast had to be an anonymous vagrant whose real name no one knew. Looking back, knowing what I know now about heathen stories and customs, it is quite obvious to me that was a survival of a folk custom meant to honor Odin. And it was still being practiced in the 1970s.

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