Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

 

THE TRADITIONAL WITCH’S CALENDAR:  1-7 MARCH

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Scotlands Rosslyn Chapel, Mary Magdalene and Goddess Brede

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At the Couch of the Gods

At a recent occult meet-up, the topic of the discussion was "Goddesses" and we had gotten to the point where we were discussing our experiences and perceptions.  Perhaps because there was a light focused down directly where I was sitting, I was especially talkative at that meeting.  

During one of my ramblings, the following description dropped out of my mouth: "With my art, versus my personal practice, I can't say that I'm specifically aligned with any certain deity or pantheon.  Rather it's like there's this mystical psychiatrist's couch in my studio, and They line up to have a lay down and tell me Their problems and what They want for art."  Up until that moment, I had never really voiced it, but that's exactly what it feels like to make my art. 

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Minoan Ecstatic Postures: Saluting the Sacred

If you participate in ritual, you're probably familiar with the idea of sacred postures. Many modern Pagan traditions include gestures such as the "Osiris pose" (arms crossed over the chest with hands on the shoulders) or the "Goddess pose" (arms raised to the sides with hands up and palms facing forward). Ancient religions included sacred postures as well. One of the most famous is the Minoan salute, shown above, with the right arm raised and the loosely-curled fist placed with the back of the hand against the forehead (all images in this post are from Wikimedia Commons).

Those of us who practice modern Minoan Paganism have worked extensively with the Minoan salute. Like other sacred postures, if held for a while, it will induce a gently altered state of consciousness. Belinda Gore and the folks at the Cuyamungue Institute in New Mexico have studied the effects and uses of ecstatic postures for years; I reviewed Belinda Gore's excellent book on ecstatic postures a while back. It turns out, the use of ritual postures goes back to the Stone Age and each one induces an altered state with a slightly different focus. And the Minoans had a whole collection of postures they used, not just the famous salute. Over in Ariadne's Tribe, we've been experimenting with these postures for a while and sharing our experiences so we can have an experiential window into ancient Minoan spirituality.

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Open Call: Novel Gnosis

Readers of this blog have seen me write about "novel gnosis," insights I learned through writing my unpublished behemoth Some Say Fire. Talking with other writers about novel gnosis showed me that this experience is fascinatingly different for everyone. So many people were excited about the idea that it's turning into a book. I'm editing an anthology of essays about novel gnosis. 

Open call for nonfiction essays

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jenn
    Jenn says #
    Hi Erin, Does one's novel have to be completed at the time the essay is submitted or the book is released? I am 35K words into m
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Hi Jenn, Your fiction doesn't have to be finished, as long as you learned something from it. Erin

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The Love of Trees

"The Clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness."

John Muir 1890. 

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Animal Souls

There's very little about animal afterlife in heathen mythology, and it's all pretty tenuous. There is a vague idea of sea dogs on Nehellenia's boat, the dog and oar being two of her symbols, in addition to the cornucopia. Some consider her to be the same goddess as Zisa. The boat may be a symbol of the afterlife journey, that is, boat as psychopomp. That would be consistent with using boats in funerals and with making boat shaped graves, both of which are historical practices. So, a dog and boat depicted together could be interpreted to mean that dogs which traveled with warriors at sea accompany them to their afterlife. As I said, pretty tenuous. Unfortunately the written lore is only a tiny piece of what the ancients would have known.

I've always liked the idea of the multipartite soul from the moment I first read about it. The idea is that there are many parts to the soul, parts that can go on to an afterlife, parts that return in the family line or in someone named after one, parts that are recycled into something completely different, parts that just stop, in an individual sense, but go on everywhere else (breath, for example, just stops for the individual, but that doesn't affect the idea of breath, or anyone else's breath.) I don't know if animals are just like people in that way or not. I think they do have souls, though, based on my gnosis. 

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