Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

In last month's blog, we learned about Celtic deities from the Iron Age in various parts of the European mainland. This month we will look at what can be known - or surmised - about gods and goddesses in Ireland, including how their names were pronounced and their primary powers or attributes. Like the Continental deities, the Irish deities may have more than one name, and are often multi-aspected. We should not expect them to conform to Greco-Roman archetypes or to match up with modern Neo-Pagan ideas about deities and the year wheel. The Irish gods are 'their own thing,' and should be approached and interpreted on their own terms.

There are a remarkable number of books and websites out there which profess to contain the names and attributes of the Irish gods, which for some reason are almost all wildly inaccurate. I'm not entirely sure why this should be, except that the study of Celtic Paganism and Deities is a relatively more recent field of serious study, especially when compared with the study of Greco-Roman and Egyptian deities. Not all of the Irish sources have been well translated, or compiled into one place (or are in sources that can be readily found). Suffice it to say, that one should stick to the following books when learning about the Irish gods and goddesses - for background information, and also for reading and interpreting the myths themselves. Always better to read a good translation of an Irish tale or legend that contains references to an Irish deity, than to take someone else's word for it (especially when they cannot tell you where that information comes from).

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Looking ahead to 2015 (The Pagan Experience)

I’ve decided to take part in The Pagan Experience, the community writing project that’s taking the place of the now-retired Pagan Blog Project, and am going to share selected posts here, as relevant.  (ALL of them will be posted to my personal blog, if you're interested!) This is my post from the first week (edited somewhat for this blog, and because a couple of weeks have passed since I first wrote it).  (Although I'm caught up now, I was late getting started with this because thus far in 2015, I’ve been so busy doing All of the Things that I haven’t had much of a chance to write about All of the Things.)

As I’ve seen others comment on this topic, I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions–not in the sense of promising or vowing to accomplish a list of goals for the year ahead. As a Witch, I am reluctant to put my word behind something unless I really mean to keep it, at any cost. Most of the goals I set don’t fall into this category because life happens, and as events unfold throughout the year some of the goals I had set at the beginning of it may become less important, while others I hadn’t even been aware of become vital. With this in mind, instead of putting my word behind most of the things on my list, I set intentions for what I would like to accomplish, what sort of year I intend to create (with the understanding that my gods may have something else in mind altogether).

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It seems a common topic of conversation these days that the world is pretty chaotic. We find so many things hard to understand - from violence in the name of peaceful religion, to laws which seem to increase suffering for some in the 'best interests' of others, or just decisions to which we can only stammer 'But... but... that's just wrong!' At heartfelt level, become intellect and rationality, we know this and are flummoxed that the other person cannot even grasp the possibility

The craziness of 'everyday' life is brought home to me often, largely because of my work as a Professional Priest. This brings two worlds colliding in a very real sense. The secular, normal, nuts-and-bolts life that generally allows for the concept of spirituality but with an undercurrent of nervousness, unsure how to engage with it for fear of offending - and the spiritual, soul-deep understanding that we are actually all humans muddling through some greater journey together, albeit with a similar suspicion that the 9-5 family-and-day-job is mad in its own way. Is one more important than another? Is one more real than another?

 

 

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Good Knowledge, Bad Teacher: Part 2

Lesson 2: How to Recognize the Warning Signs of an Unsafe Group.

The intent of this post is to contribute to the discussion on how to have a safe community. 

Recently the pagan community has been discussing this topic as a result of publicity over the arrest of Kenny Klein, a news story summarized here: http://wildhunt.org/2014/03/allegations-emerge-after-pagan-author-charged-with-possessing-child-pornography.html 

Some posts by pagans and heathens either in reaction to the news or about how to have a safe community: 

Do I Have to Have Sex to Be a Witch? http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/thea-s-inbox/let-s-talk-about-sex.html
The Community Reacts to Kenny Klein http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-studies-blogs/witch-at-large/my-take-on-the-kenny-klein-affair.html 
Secrecy http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-studies-blogs/witch-at-large/the-tyranny-of-secrecy.html 
Evil Thrives on Secrecy http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/gael-ur/evil-thrives-on-secrecy.html 
Abuse creates spiritual taint (contains some foul language) http://krasskova.weebly.com/blog/a-conversation-with-kenaz-filan 

There are some legitimate traditions that have hierarchies, and there are some traditions that reserve certain secrets and mysteries for higher levels of the group. Because there are such traditions, it’s hard to tell from the point of view of a prospective student whether the existence of levels and secrets indicates an established tradition or a means of dangling a carrot in front of the student to get student to keep doing what Bad Teacher demands. If one of the things student is expected to keep secret is that Bad Teacher is getting sex from student, that’s a clue that things are not well. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_away-207525_640.jpgThis post is for Week 2 of The Pagan Experience, on Personal Practice: “Share your favorite spiritual/magickal practices."

On the Vanic side of my spiritual life, one of the most meaningful and nourishing things I do is also one of the most simple, something that may not look outwardly like a spiritual practice: going for walks.

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Daily Practice - Doing that one thing over and over again

Right as the clock struck midnight and 2015 was upon us, people started talking about their daily practices. I suppose it's a natural enough time to review what we do or don't do every day. Mostly it becomes a bit of a wish list for how we'd like our lives to be less mundane and more spiritual and as we have the clean slate of the new calendar year to help us, why not give it a bash.

Here's the not so good news - Daily practices, for the most part, are mundane. It's about doing the same thing, the same way each and every day (or as many days as you can). Whether you are communing with gods, or tending to an altar, or sipping a cup of tea or sitting in silence it's about doing that thing when you say you are going to do it. But mostly it's about doing that thing over and over again, recommitting to a practice without the expectation of reward. Occasionally I've had that "aha!" moment but more often than not, I do my thing, my day stops for a few minutes and I then move on.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you for your comment Editor B. You know, I added Yoga into my daily schedule about a year ago. It didn't stick, not because
  • Editor B
    Editor B says #
    Hey Gwion. Mark Green shared this link and got me here. I like the perspective you articulate. It's particularly useful as I'm org
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Mark, Thank you for the comments. I took a peek at your link. I like the concept of your "rosary", even if the name gives m
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    I like this piece (and I'm sorry for your loss). In our ADD world, it IS hard to keep doing that one thing, every day. For mine,

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Good Knowledge, Bad Teacher: Part 1

Trigger warning: sexual harassment, abuse

 

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